This is the sixth post in a series celebrating the publication of my new book: I-9 Verification Employment eGuide for HR professionals. This book is a free guide that covers everything busy HR pros need to know to avoid common issues throughout the I-9 verification process.
These blog posts detail the first chapter of the book, “Top 10 Questions from Employers About I-9s.” So far, I have covered:
- 6 of the Top I-9 Mistakes That Employers Make
- An Employee’s Green Card Is Expiring — Do You Need to Reverify It?
- Form I-9: How, When and By Whom Does It Need to Be Completed
- What Retention Requirements Exist for the Form I-9?
- Is Pre-Population of Section 1 Allowed for Form I-9?
In this post, I will discuss best practices for employers to handle verification of employees hired remotely, including a common misstep.
Who Completes Form I-9 in the Case of Remote Hires?
In remote hire situations, employers may feel tempted to have someone in the same location as the new hire examine the original documents. Remember that it’s necessary to examine these documents to determine if they reasonably appear to be genuine and relate to the person being hired.
Then, the employer might proceed to fill out the I-9 themselves. This is where a gaff occurs. Keep in mind: the person who signs the attestation must be the same person who physically examines each original document. These tasks cannot be delegated to separate personnel, much less across state or national borders.
So, how do you handle the hiring of an international person who plans to work remotely indefinitely?
The employer should delegate the entire verification process to a single person in the new employee’s location. This person will serve as an agent or authorized representative of the employer, and must physically examine the documents and complete Section 2 of the Form I-9.
According to the Handbook for Employers, they can “designate, hire, or contract with any person” they choose to complete, update, or make corrections to Section 2 or 3 in their stead. However, it’s best if they develop a policy for this process.
The reason for this is two-fold. Not only will employers garner more efficient results if the agent is educated in the process, they are liable for the actions of the authorized representative.
The authorized representative should consult the Handbook in order to fulfill the regular employer duties regarding attestation. Basically, they will complete, sign, and date Section 2 or 3 on behalf of the employer.
Also, in case the question comes up: employees cannot act as their own authorized representatives to complete Form I-9.
Next week, we will talk about the seventh topic from Chapter 1: What should an employer do when it discovers during an internal audit that a Form I-9 for an employee was not completed or is missing, or a section of the Form I-9 was left blank?
You could also download my new eGuide now to avoid the wait and get all the information you need about the entire I-9 verification process.