Q. It is my understanding that employers are required to view I-9 verifying documents within three business days of an employee’s hire. My company hires employees in various states, and I cannot personally view the I-9 documentation of the out-of-state employees. What process is acceptable for completion of the I-9 verification process if I cannot personally view the required documentation?
A. Sections 274(A)(a)(1) and (b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provide that it is unlawful to:
- Hire an illegal immigrant knowing that he or she is not authorized to work.
- Hire anyone without physically examining the individual’s documentation and verifying on the I-9 form that the individual is authorized to work legally in the United States.
An employer may fulfill its obligations for verifying employment eligibility by utilizing an agent. Specifically, 8 CFR §274(a.1)(g) authorizes the employer to appoint someone to act as its agent for purposes of fulfilling its obligations. That section states (emphasis added):
“The term employer means a person or entity, including an agent or anyone acting directly or indirectly in the interest thereof, who engages the services or labor of an employee to be performed in the United States for wages or other remuneration. In the case of an independent contractor or contract labor or services, the term employer shall mean the independent contractor or contractor and not the person or entity using the contract labor.”
Consistent with this provision, an employer may appoint an agent to complete the I-9 verification procedure. This agent can be anyone that the employer is comfortable using. For example, it could be a client or vendor’s HR person, an attorney or notary. The employer should have on file some documentation to establish the agent’s authority to review the I-9 documents.