October 16th, 2014 | Sterling

Bridging The Distance For I-9 Compliance in Remote Hiring

Bridging The Distance For I-9 Compliance in Remote Hiring | SterlingBackcheck

In today’s job market, technology innovations and cultural shifts have made remote hiring and telecommuting more common than ever. Remote hiring is at an all-time high, with recruiters and hiring managers looking beyond their backyards for talent. Not only are applicants willing to re-locate for the perfect job, but many employers have embraced telecommuting and the use of virtual staffing to save money that would have been otherwise spent on providing office space for the employee. Most of the hiring process can be managed remotely thanks to technology like Skype or FaceTime for video interviews; however, there are still some challenges that employers face when hiring remotely.

Long Distance Form I-9 Woes

If you’ve hired a remote employee, you know that completing and processing Form I-9 for remote hires can be a bit of a logistical nightmare – especially if there’s no one from your company near the new employee.

It’s not unfair to assume that in this age of technical wizardry, you should be able to simply have your new employee scan and email copies of their identification and employment authorization. Sadly, this is not the case. Section 2 of Form I-9 clearly states that employers are required to physically examine documents. This means that employers cannot use technology such as scanners or video conferencing to comply with the Form I-9 process.

So with commonly used technology ruled out, how is an employer supposed to examine the documents of a remote hire? Surely, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) doesn’t expect you to board a plane or have the new employee take a road trip just to complete some paperwork?

USCIS recommends that the employer designate an agent, such as a notary, to complete the form on their behalf. But the agent must also sign Section 2, which has proven to be problematic for some notaries. Not to mention, with only three days to complete Form I-9, the task of finding someone authorized to act as an employer representative and coordinating the appointment with the new hire is time consuming.

Go Virtual and Onboard Everywhere

Don’t let these challenges deter you from remote hiring. There are mobile and 100% paperless solutions available to help employers manage the Form I-9 process for remote hires. Background screening providers have adapted their services to accommodate the rising trend of telecommuting. When you partner with an experienced and technology-enabled provider, you can onboard employees from virtually anywhere.

When evaluating a background screening provider, be sure to ask them what their online capabilities are and take into consideration the candidate experience for remote hires. Look for a provider with remote I-9 capabilities including an extensive network of notaries, online e-signature technology, and integration with E-verify so you can submit I-9’s immediately. To further streamline your I-9 process, you can also ask about data verification algorithms so that I-9’s are free of errors and automatic purging of Form I-9’s based on the 1 year and 3 year rule.

By transitioning to a provider for your I-9 management, you benefit from hassle-free I-9 compliance for remote hires and an overall reduction in processing time for in-house employees.


This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.