The temporary rule put in place during the pandemic that allows employers to review I-9 employment eligibility documents remotely, instead of in-person, could become permanent according to a notice of proposed rulemaking published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Prior to the pandemic, DHS required all employers to examine a worker’s identification documents in person as part of completing Form I-9. For new hires far from an employer’s location, businesses often had to contract with a third party to review these documents.
During the past two years, remote inspections have been permitted because of the pandemic and many employers want this change to be made permanent because it makes the verification process much easier, especially for employers with numerous worksites.
If finalized, the proposed rule would allow DHS to “authorize alternative options for document examination procedures with respect to some or all employers.”
The proposal says DHS could “pilot various options, respond to emergencies similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, or implement permanent flexibilities upon a specific determination as to level of security, including, but not limited to, fraud risk.”
Additionally, the agency is proposing a change to Form I-9 that would have an employer indicate whether it inspected the documents remotely.