All employers must complete an I-9 form for all workers to verify their employment eligibility. The I-9 requires the employee to present certain documents to the employer in order to establish the employee’s identity and work authorization. During the pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security (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. The waiver is currently extended through the end of October, 2022.
DHS has announced plans to issue a proposed rule this month which would allow virtual document examination options in some instances on a permanent basis. Virtual reviews of the I-9 form would help employers that are hiring remote workers. With the increased use of remote workers, many employers are requesting that the virtual review option be made permanent. It is often impractical and burdensome for remote employees to travel long distances to a company’s location in order to present documents for the I-9 requirement.
Many large employers have requested DHS to implement options that are both convenient and secure. There are limitations to certain technologies such as fax for the purpose of I-9 completion. One example of a convenient way to examine documents remotely is to use a virtual platform such as Zoom, Webex or FaceTime in which the employee and employer representative would have their cameras open and working. The employee would then hold the documents in front of the camera lens for examination by the employer.
We will update you when the proposed DHS rule is finalized.
John Falcone and Luke Malloy handle employment law matters at PLDR Law. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this matter.