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.
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:
- Enlist in E-Verify and complete the required memorandum of understanding. For organizations with multiple hiring sites, this step may vary.
- Complete mandatory E-Verify training, covering topics such as fraud prevention and anti-discrimination.
- 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.
- Conduct a live video session to examine the documents the employee will present, ensuring they appear legitimate.
- Indicate the utilization of the alternative verification approach on Form I-9 by ticking the designated checkbox.
- Retain copies or electronic images of all documents provided for possible DHS audits.
- 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.
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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.
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