- The Society for Human Resource Management asked the federal government in a July 26 letter to permanently allow employers to remotely review employee documentation for Form I-9.
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has temporarily allowed certain employers to review IDs remotely since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but requires employers to follow up with in-person examination.
- After surveying HR professionals on the issue, SHRM said it "advocates for the implementation of a permanent rule or policy that reinterprets [the] current requirement of a physical inspection of documents to mean 'in -person', thereby permitting a virtual inspection model for use in completing Section 2 of Form I-9 by video conference."
All new hires must complete Form I-9 to demonstrate an ability to work in the U.S., a mandate that requires employers to physically examine an employee's identification. ICE's temporary exception permits employers to do so via video, fax or email.
SHRM said its survey revealed that as many employers continue to maintain partially or fully remote operations, they foresee challenges with the current I-9 flexibility guidance. In addition to permanent implementation, SHRM recommended the government issue a simplified Form I-9 that offers flexibility for unexpected issues.
It also said members made clear in the survey that "it is time for one, reliable, entirely electronic employment verification system — one that balances security with efficiency," prompting a suggestion that the government integrate Form I-9 and E-Verify into a single process.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — the agency tasked with setting such policies — said the agency "will respond to stakeholder correspondence through official channels." Additionally, "USCIS will continue to monitor COVID-19 to determine whether to extend or introduce new flexibilities consistent with health and safety guidelines developed by the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]."