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Employer Comments on Virtual I-9 Document Review Due by 10/17/22

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced its first proposed rule on the Optional Alternatives to the Physical Document Examination Associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9).


The proposed rule does not include a detailed plan for virtual inspection of Form I-9. Instead, the proposed rule would “formalize the authority for the Secretary to extend flexibilities, provide alternative options, or conduct a pilot program to further evaluate an alternative procedure.” This is significant as it signals the administration’s openness to formalize COVID-era flexibilities and permit permanent remote inspection of employee identification and employment authorization documentation.


DHS took note of the changing landscape surrounding work, workers and the workplace. Many employers may have permanently adopted telework and remote work arrangements and made significant investments in technologies such as cloud-based solutions that allow employees to work despite not physically reporting to a company location on a regular basis.


If implemented, the rule would not be mandatory but would allow employers to decide whether or not to use alternative procedure(s) if they believe it is in their best interest to do so. The proposed rule does not include specific regulations.


The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register and the public must submit comments on or before October 17. Greater Rochester Chamber will be submitting a formal comment on behalf of its members as well.


Employers may submit comments on the entirety of this proposed rule, identified by Docket No. ICEB-2021-0010, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at: Follow the website instructions to submit comments.


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