The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced that employers must complete in-person physical document inspections for employees whose documents were inspected remotely during the temporary flexibilities by August 30, 2023.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, DHS implemented an inspection deferral policy allowing employers with a remote workforce to review identification documents for Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification virtually or remotely. Initially announced in March 2020 and updated in March 2021, these temporary flexibilities will end on July 31, 2023.
With this COVID-19 flexibility policy coming to an end, employers who have been using those temporary flexibilities should take steps now to ensure all required physical inspection of identity and employment authorization documentations is completed by August 20, 2023. This applies to employees hired on or after March 20, 2020 who have received a virtual or remote examination under the temporary policy.
Employers should also properly annotate the Form I-9 for this population to ensure compliance with the requirements. Employers who examined the employees’ documents remotely under the flexibilities could enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the delay in physical in-person examination in the Section 2 Additional Information field. Once the employees’ documents were physically examined, the employer should add “documents physically examined” along with the date of examination to the appropriate section of the Form I-9.
Employers should stay informed on the latest updates to Form I-9 requirements and make necessary adjustments to their employment eligibility verification processes to help maintain a compliant workforce and avoid penalties. Your Foster team is available to assist you in conducting an internal audit of your Form I-9s or provide guidance on your employment verification procedures.
Foster will continue to monitor the requirements concerning Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification and will make future updates available via the Foster website at www.fosterglobal.com.