Form I-9

Remote I-9 Completion: 9 Best Practices for Employers

Published On
Nov 17, 2023
Read Time
4 Minutes
OnBlick Inc

In the past, employers have been required to conduct in-person document reviews for all new hires. However, the federal government recently gave qualified E-Verify employers another option for remotely examining Form I-9 documents. This new option, known as the "alternative procedure," allows employers to inspect documents via video conference and retain electronic copies.

This blog discusses nine best practices for employers when using the alternative procedure.

What is the alternative procedure?

The alternative procedure is a new option for qualified E-Verify employers to examine Form I-9 documents remotely. To be eligible to use the alternative procedure, an employer must:

  1. Be in good standing with E-Verify,
  2. Have enrolled in the program for all hiring sites that use the alternative procedure, and
  3. Comply with all E-Verify requirements.

If an employer is eligible to use the alternative procedure, they must follow these steps:

What are the benefits of using the alternative procedure?

Opting for the alternative procedure presents various advantages for employers. Firstly, it offers a cost-effective solution by eliminating the need for employees to travel to physical offices, thereby reducing expenses related to travel and lodging. Additionally, this alternative method enhances efficiency as it can be completed more swiftly than the traditional in-person process. Furthermore, the alternative procedure contributes to improved accuracy, providing employers with increased confidence in the authenticity of documents, particularly when they are inspected through video conferences.  

What are the risks associated with the alternative procedure?

Using the alternative procedure does present certain risks that employers should be mindful of. One potential challenge is the occurrence of technical difficulties during video conferences, which may disrupt the seamless execution of the I-9 process. Employers must anticipate and address these technical issues promptly to ensure the efficiency of remote verification procedures. Additionally, data security risks are associated with the electronic transmission of employee data. Employers must take proactive measures to safeguard this information, implementing robust security protocols to protect against unauthorized access or data breaches during the transmission process. Managing these risks is essential for maintaining the integrity and security of the alternative I-9 procedure.

Best practices for using the alternative procedure

Ensure E-Verify enrollment and compliance: Maintaining active enrollment in E-Verify is crucial for ensuring your organization complies with federal regulations. Regularly reviewing and updating your program to align with the latest requirements guarantees the accuracy and effectiveness of your employment verification processes.

Incorporate all hiring sites in E-Verify: To enhance the comprehensiveness of your efforts, it's essential to include all hiring sites within your account, whether physical locations or remote workspaces. This ensures a uniform approach to employment verification across your organization, promoting consistency and accuracy.

Establish clear communication guidelines: Developing standardized templates for communication with employees about submitting electronic document copies and participating in video interactions is vital. Clear and consistent guidelines help foster transparency, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings and ensuring that employees are well-informed throughout the I-9 process.

Standardize the video conferencing platform: Selecting a preferred and consistent video conferencing platform, such as MS Teams or Zoom, provides a stable and reliable means of conducting video interactions during the I-9 process. Standardization simplifies the process for employees and the HR team, reducing potential complications and enhancing overall efficiency.

Maintain a secure electronic document repository: Implementation of a secure and organized electronic system for storing employee documents presented during the I-9 process is crucial. This not only ensures compliance with data security standards but also facilitates easy retrieval and monitoring, contributing to a streamlined and efficient documentation management system.

Implement a robust electronic document storage process: Developing a detailed and regularly reviewed process for storing electronic documents adds more reliability to your compliance efforts. This process should encompass regular audits, security checks, and updates to ensure the integrity, accuracy, and reliability of the stored electronic documents over time.

Authorize specific employees for the alternative procedure: Designating specific authorized personnel within the Human Resources or Legal team to perform the alternative method establishes accountability and expertise in handling sensitive I-9 procedures. This ensures the alternative procedure is executed accurately and follows legal requirements, minimizing the risk of errors or oversights.

Audit trail: Establish a robust system that generates a secure and enduring "audit trail" whenever an individual engages in actions such as creating, completing, updating, modifying, altering, or correcting an electronic file as part of the I-9 process. This comprehensive record should encompass the date of access, the identity of the individual accessing the electronic record, and specific details about the action taken, ensuring a transparent and accountable documentation process.

Electronic signatures: When employing electronic signatures for the alternative procedure and the overall Form I-9 process, it is imperative that the related system allows individuals to confirm that they have read the associated attestation. Electronic signatures should be affixed to relevant documents during each transaction, and each signature must generate a verifiable record to confirm the signatory's identity. Additionally, in response to an employee's request, your organization should be prepared to furnish a printed confirmation of the transaction, further ensuring transparency and compliance with regulatory standards.

How does OnBlick help?

OnBlick significantly facilitates I-9 remote verification by enabling employees to seamlessly complete and submit Form I-9 electronically from any location, eliminating the necessity for in-office paperwork completion. The automated scrutiny by OnBlick adeptly flags potential errors and discrepancies in Form I-9, strengthening overall compliance efforts. OnBlick incorporates the Alternative Video Verification Procedure, aligned with the U.S. ICE model, for live video sessions to confirm both identity and employment authorization.  

With features encompassing maintaining the Form I-9 audit trail, digital signatures, timely alerts about document expiry, integration with E-Verify web services, and much more, OnBlick provides a comprehensive solution for I-9 remote verification. To delve into the full spectrum of benefits and functionalities, you can book a demo and explore how OnBlick can elevate and streamline your remote verification processes.

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