In June 2006, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) published an interim final rule authorizing the electronic storage of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms and providing standards for such systems. The interim final rule permitted scanning, signing and completing I-9 forms electronically, provided certain standards were met.
Four years later, ICE has finalized the regulation, as noted in its press release. The final rule makes some minor modifications to the 2006 rule, including clarifying that employers must complete an I-9 within three business (not calendar) days, that employers can use a combination of paper and electronic systems, and that employers are only required to provide a confirmation of the I-9 transaction to employees who request a copy.
Employers that are considering adopting an electronic I-9 system should confirm that the system conforms to the performance standards set forth in the regulations. For example, systems must retain an electronic audit trail relating to creation, completion, updating, modification, alteration or correction to any I-9. Converting to an electronic system can be an involved process. However, electronic I-9 systems can help solidify employer processes, especially for employers with numerous hiring locations that lack on-site, trained human resources personnel. The conversion period may be a good time for employers to conduct a self-audit of I-9 records as correcting old errors can help reduce employer liability in the event of a government audit. Please contact the Ogletree Deakins attorney with whom you normally work or contact the Immigration Compliance Group for assistance with I-9s, E-Verify or other immigration issues.