When employees are split between work-from-home and in-person work, the meaning of “business as usual” changes. Standard business procedures, such as completing Form I-9, have changed with the times in light of COVID-19’s effect on the workplace. Fortunately for employees in the U.S. working remotely, some of that flexibility is here to stay for a bit longer.
ICE announced an extension to their Form I-9 procedure flexibility. This extension is a continuation and modification of an ordinance set in place in March 2020 for those who work exclusively remote. It allows official I-9 documentation to be submitted electronically instead of in person. While it’s nice to have more room to breathe when completing important government forms, it begs the question, ‘What’s next for Form I-9?’
Verified First can offer some clarity on this inquiry. We’re detailing ICE’s extension, Form I-9 compliance, and how you can continue to experience a streamlined I-9 process even after the current extension expires.
Form I-9 is used by the government to verify the identity and employment authorization of all employed individuals, both citizens and non-citizens, hired for employment in the U.S. An individual will provide acceptable I-9 documents and fill out their part of the I-9 form before handing it off to their employer. The employer will then complete their section of the form and file it for inspection by government officials.
For employees who switched to remote work during the initial months of COVID-19, providing I-9 acceptable documents wasn’t easy. Before ICE established flexibility, all documents had to be inspected and approved in person. COVID-19 challenged the set procedure, as remote work didn’t allow employees to bring their documents in with them to an office.
Due to submission complications for employees and employers, ICE created a flexible procedure to verify documents for those working remotely without the in-person requirement. The procedure was implemented in March 2020 and has now been extended to April 30, 2022.
This extension temporarily exempts employees from the in-person inspection of acceptable I-9 Documents. The extension allows these forms to be sent via fax, email, and/or other digital sharing options. Once the exemption is terminated or the employer’s normal operations resume, employees will have 3 business days to complete their in-person form verification.
The flexibility of this procedure applies to all employees hired on or after April 1, 2021. The new COVID-19 mandates enacted in various cities across the U.S. and the continued uncertainty related to the virus have caused businesses to push back fully on in-person work.
ICE has given a deadline of April 30, 2022 as the end date for this flexible procedure. As COVID-19 continues to affect work environments, it’s hard to say if this extension could be extended further. It’s no secret that the impact of COVID-19 has far surpassed the expectations (and certainly the hopes) of many businesses. However, as of now, there are no amends to the April 2022 date.
While you can’t count on the amendment to be extended further, you can count on a better way to complete your Form I-9’s. Verified First offers a robust Tracker I-9 and E-Verify integration powered by Mitratech to fully automate & digitize Form I-9’s.
By utilizing our Tracker I-9 and E-Verify integration, employers and employees can complete their Form I-9 sections fully online — regardless if the employee works onsite or remotely.
The Tracker I-9 electronic platform is the mastermind of top-ranked immigration experts with over 20 years of experience. Our process guides users through every Form I-9 completion requirement every time, so you can feel confidently prepared for an I-9 audit. The E-Verify tool can assist the employer in verifying the identity and employment eligibility of their employees, helping to eliminate the headache of businesses needing to constantly monitor compliance changes.
Interested in I-9 & E-verify with Verified First? Let’s chat!
Even more, our integration reduces the risk of errors. Tracker I-9’s dashboard is user-friendly (even for those non-tech savvy individuals) and provides an easy way to manage the progress of all I-9’s. It utilizes a fully encrypted, cloud-based solution to guarantee data protection and is equipped with powerful, real-time reporting tools. The platform’s mobile functionality also allows users to upload ID photos from a mobile device. The images upload directly to the Tracker I-9 system, leaving no residual image on the device.
By taking advantage of the Tracker I-9 and E-Verify integration, you're working toward compliance without having to monitor legal changes. Exemptions won’t last forever, but fortunately, our integration will help reduce Form I-9 stress in the long run.
Getting solid answers to the changing questions surrounded by Form I-9 compliance during COVID-19 isn’t easy. With our Tracker I-9 and E-Verify integration powered by Mitratech, you won’t have to ask about what happens next. Our fully electronic integration will manage the Form I-9 process from start to finish, working to easily verify documentation and eligibility status. Connect with us today to learn how your company could benefit from our fully-automated I-9 process.