DHS Opens the Door to Permanently Allow Remote Form I-9 Document Inspection

Mitratech Holdings, Inc

​​It’s been an interesting year in the world of Form I-9 regulation, with many new developments and trends. All US employers know the Form is complicated and carries significant risk.

Employers can face fines or worse even if they unknowingly hire foreign nationals without proper documentation, but there’s a possibility the Form I-9 will get a bit easier.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Request for Public Input (RPI)

DHS announced an unprecedented policy change last year due to the pandemic, increasing flexibility on physical presence requirements to complete Section 2 of Form I-9. They relaxed rules for examining identity and work authorization documents in person, allowing for virtual verification of documents provided employers physically verified the documents in the presence of the employee once in-person office operations resume. On August 31, 2021, DHS announced that the document examination flexibilities established on March 20, 2020, were extended until December 31, 2021.

Finally, on Monday, October 25, 2021, DHS announced that they are actively seeking feedback from the public on possibly making the remote document verification option for Form I-9 permanent.

This is welcome news. The global trend toward hybrid work solutions has been greatly accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent shift in these workforce trends has prompted DHS to examine remote document examinations closely.  It is very encouraging to see the government keeping up with these trends and making a serious effort to modernize the antiquated Form I-9 process.

Employers who took advantage of the temporary remote document inspection policy can help determine the future of permanent remote document inspection. The deadline for submitting written comments is December 27, 2021. The public can submit comments on the proposed rules by visiting Regulations.gov and searching for docket number USCIS-2021-0022 to ensure that your thoughts are heard.

Get every Form I-9 done right

A permanent remote I-9 form inspection option could be a game-changer for employers and provide them with an easy and convenient way of complying with Form I-9 complexities.

The Form I-9 remains the most-fined government form. In order to avoid fines and penalties, especially during this time of uncertainty, employers need a good compliance program with an experienced partner who will help navigate your company’s process so that you can produce accurate documentation while keeping up with all government regulations.

Technology solutions help employers maintain employee onboarding compliance and take away manual tasks from the process, so companies avoid headaches during ICE audits or any other time when things get tough in this ever-changing climate.

Written by:

Mitratech Holdings, Inc


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