Using Authorized Representatives to Inspect Form I-9s for Remotely Onboarded Employees

Using Authorized Representatives to Inspect Form I-9s for Remotely Onboarded Employees
June 8, 2023

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced when employers can expect the end of remote flexibilities for the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process. According to the announcement, the DHS has scheduled the flexibilities to end on July 31, 2023. As a result, employers should consider how to prepare and review all remotely verified forms in person by August 30, 2023.

Unfortunately, many employers may find it challenging to verify the employee forms physically. For example, in some cases, employees may not live local to the office. This problem could occur because the employee moved away or never lived nearby. As a result, employers may need an authorized representative to examine these forms on their behalf.

Using an authorized representative to verify documents in person is an option that employers have utilized before the pandemic. Many chose this alternative when they had to onboard remote employees. This process is no different in regulation than regular in-person completion of the form. In practice, documentation is still physically verified. 

Authorized representatives act as agents for the employer. As such, these individuals will verify an employee’s identity and employment authorization in person. In addition, individuals, such as friends and family, can act as authorized representatives. When they do so, they will represent the employer when completing Section 2 of Form I-9.

Individuals entrusted by an employer to act as authorized representatives must know what responsibilities they have accepted. As such, they should know how to complete the verification process correctly. They should also know about state requirements for authorized representatives. For example, California allows a notary to complete or certify Form I-9s as bonded immigration consultants. Due to such conditions, employers may encounter limited options for authorized representatives.

Employers should also carefully choose their authorized representatives. Such caution is necessary because employers retain liability for violations that appear on the I-9 forms and occur in the verification process. They maintain responsibility even when the authorized representative makes a mistake. As a result, employers can face severe penalties for any discovered violations.

One of the best ways to ensure compliance with Form I-9’s requirements is to utilize an electronic I-9 management system. This system can provide step-by-step guidance throughout the employment eligibility verification process. Furthermore, it offers easy-to-use storage and helpful reminders to help ensure continued compliance.

Learn more about automating your employment eligibility verification and ensuring compliance with I-9Compliance.