We continue to see the changes required by quarantining and the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic today. Some of these changes may even become permanent solutions in our evolving world. We see many of these changes in the working world, primarily in regard to a shift to remote work from traditionally working every day in a designated workplace. The latest news involves the potential for a permanent rule by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) allowing remote verification of I-9 documents.
This proposed ruling pertains to all employers, as employers must complete an I-9 form for all workers to verify their employment eligibility. During the pandemic, the DHS waived requirements that employers inspect documents in person in workplaces that were operating remotely, and those employers have been allowed to use alternatives like videoconferencing, fax, or email. This flexibility was recently extended until the end of October 2022, but now there is a proposal for its permanence due to the increase of remote work and new technological advancements. After the pandemic proved I-9 verification can be effectively done remotely, it’s now believed that the benefits of in-person I-9 preparation are now equaled or exceeded by remote or virtual methods. Having a remote I-9 preparation would transform the entire onboarding process for both employers and employees, enabling the entire thing to be accomplished remotely and in some cases more efficiently.
The proposed rule would formalize the department’s authority to extend flexibilities, provide alternative options and conduct pilot programs to further evaluate alternative procedures for some or all employers, regardless of whether their employees physically report to work at an employer worksite. However, the DHS has requested input on several issues that may arise from shifting to a permanently remote option. This issue includes protecting both employer and employee privacy, fraudulent document detection, and anti-discrimination training requirements.
To learn more about the proposal for remote I-9 verification, visit: https://www.ice.gov/factsheets/i9-inspection.
DII is your partner in the workplace. Our team of experts can work with you to understand how this change in employee on-boarding standards could affect your company. Please contact your DII representative for more information. #I-9Verification #RemoteWork