Streamlining Remote Workforce Onboarding: E-Verify and I-9 Compliance Strategies

In today’s dynamic job market, remote work arrangements are becoming increasingly common among employers who wish to expand their talent search across a wide geographic area. Just as it is critical for in-house personnel, remote employees must be onboarded with due diligence, which includes the meticulous completion of mandatory documentation, such as the Form I-9. You may question the feasibility of remote I-9 verification; let’s examine the possibilities.

Decoding E-Verify

Verifying an employee’s identity and authorization to work in the United States is an essential step of the hiring process, necessitating the use of Form I-9. E-Verify acts as an online companion to this process, allowing employers to electronically ascertain a new hire’s employment eligibility. This is particularly advantageous for remote employees, where conducting physical document checks is not always feasible.

Note that E-Verify is an electronic adjunct to, not a replacement for, the traditional I-9 form.

Is E-Verify Mandatory?

E-Verify participation is generally optional but can be a legal requirement in specific scenarios, including federal contracts governed by the Federal Acquisition Regulation E-Verify clause, and in certain states. For example, in Florida, companies with 25 or more employees must engage with E-Verify. Staying abreast of local regulations is crucial to ensure that your verification processes are compliant.

Remote I-9 Verification Eligibility

Following a temporary policy enacted due to the pandemic, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services solidified a rule effective August 1, 2023, which allowed for permanent remote I-9 verification by eligible employers who are participants in good standing with E-Verify. The latest Form I-9, to be adopted by November 1, 2023, includes a provision for confirming document examination via live video.

Key Steps for Remote I-9 Verification:

  1. Enlist in E-Verify and complete the required memorandum of understanding. For organizations with multiple hiring sites, this step may vary.
  2. Complete mandatory E-Verify training, covering topics such as fraud prevention and anti-discrimination.
  3. Generate an E-Verify case within three business days of the employee’s start date, drawing information from Form I-9’s first two sections.
  4. Conduct a live video session to examine the documents the employee will present, ensuring they appear legitimate.
  5. Indicate the utilization of the alternative verification approach on Form I-9 by ticking the designated checkbox.
  6. Retain copies or electronic images of all documents provided for possible DHS audits.
  7. Apply the remote verification process evenly at your facility, with possible variations for on-site or hybrid employees.

Staying I-9 Compliant with Remote Hires

As I-9 audits can be triggered unexpectedly, it is imperative to ensure that your remote employment verification practices are compliant and up-to-date. If utilizing alternative verification methods for remote hires, consider a regular review of your processes with compliance professionals. Complete Payroll Solutions, along with Total Payroll’s innovative payroll system, can support your organization in onboarding new hires correctly, along with a suite of other HR-related services to enhance your workforce management.

Enhancing Payroll and Compliance Management with Total Payroll’s Next Gen Cloud-Based System

Total Payroll’s cutting-edge cloud-based payroll system can transform your payroll and workers’ compensation management, driving efficiency and profitability within your organization. 

The basket of HR services are comprehensive, covering pre-employment screening, employment records management, unemployment claim processing, and COBRA benefit administration. We possess extensive knowledge in regulatory compliance areas such as EEOC, I-9, and other state and federal regulations.

In the face of wrongful termination claims or federal wage and hour disputes, we provide expert assistance. Additionally, we manage tracking of vacation and sick leave. And if your organization requires employee handbooks, we offer tailored solutions to meet your needs.


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