Form I-9 and an Authorized Representative
Effective April 1, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provided employers with flexible alternatives to perform Form I-9 documentation inspections due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. These alternatives allowed employers to inspect Form I-9 identity documentation remotely for employees that did not physically report to the company location on a regular, consistent and predictable basis. However, these flexible alternatives are ending on July 31, 2023 and Form I-9 identification documents will have to be physically inspected going forward either in-person or through an Authorized Representative. Any employee whose documents were inspected remotely during the period April 1, 2022 to July 31, 2023 must have their physical documents inspected by August 30, 2023.
Who Qualifies As Form I-9 Authorized Representative
The ending of the flexible alternatives will make it difficult logistically for an employer to inspect the Form I-9 documents for remote workers. To help alleviate this issue, DHS will allow employers to utilize an Authorized Representative to perform the inspection for those employees that do not physically work in the office. The employer is not required to have a contract or specific agreement with the Authorized Representative for Form I-9 purposes.
According to DHS, an Authorized Representative can be any person an employer designates, hires or contracts with to complete, update or make corrections to Section 2 (or 3) to Form I-9 on the employer’s behalf. This can include any member of the general public, personnel officer, foreman, agent or notary public where permissible.
Employees are not allowed to act as authorized representatives for their own Form I-9. Therefore, employees cannot complete, update, or make corrections to Section 2 (or 3) for themselves or attest to the authenticity of the documentation they present.
Employer Still Has Liability For Form I-9 Errors
While the Authorized Representative performs the employer’s duties relating to the Form I-9, the employer is still liable for any violations committed in connection with the form or verification process. These civil penalties for paperwork errors can range from $272 to $2,701 per form. Therefore, it is important the employer utilizes someone they trust to perform the Authorized Representative duties. There should also be controls and reviews in place to ensure the Form I-9s are being properly performed.
Have Form I-9 Questions?
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