Employers are scrambling to comply with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) decision to end I-9 verification flexibilities on July 31. Following a 30-day grace period, employers must conduct in-person I-9 documentation verification for remote employees that have been hired since March 2020 and have not had their completed forms physically inspected. Along with having to verify documentation physically for current remote employees, the resumption of pre-COVID procedures requires that in-person I-9 documentation inspections occur within three business days of hiring a new employee.
In March 2020, ICE began letting employers forgo reviewing I-9 documentation in person, permitting virtual inspection for certain remote employees. The implications of the reverted ruling could include travel costs for employees or employers, training for HR or I-9 professionals and more. Prepare for compliance by composing a list of employees hired since March 20, 2020, whose documents have only been virtually inspected.
If employees were remotely hired post March 20, 2020, but have since returned to in-person work, their inspections should be prioritized. If an employee only had a remote inspection but has since terminated employment with the company, an explanation should be included in the Additional Information box on Form I-9 with the date of termination.
ICE addresses commonly asked questions related to the end of COVID-19 flexibilities in a recent Q&A.