The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division (ICE) announced that effective August 31, 2021, the temporary regulations allowing employers operating remotely due to COVID-19 to verify new hires’ Form I-9 documents remotely will be extended. The regulations specify that employers are still responsible for physically verifying I-9 documents in-person when operations return to normal and include instructions for documenting this physical verification on the Form I-9. Initially, the temporary regulations were set to expire after 60 days on May 20, 2020, but they have been extended multiple times as the pandemic has stretched through most of 2021.
The number of remote employees has grown rapidly over the past 18 months due to the pandemic. Hiring employees remotely presents an additional challenge for employers to confirm the validity of I-9 documents. To help guide employers through this administrative challenge, DHS and ICE have made a flexibility arrangement for verifying I-9 documents.
The flexibility arrangement exempts employees hired on or after April 1, 2021, from the physical inspection requirements when verifying I-9 documents. The revised deadline to physically inspect these documents is now December 31, 2021, or when a business returns to a physical work site on a regular basis — whichever event comes first. It is important to note that the flexibility arrangement applies only to employees who are working exclusively in a remote environment. Employees who report to a physical work site are not subject to the limitations of the flexibility arrangement.
Employers Next Steps
- Make your Human Resources team and all hiring managers aware of this extension.
- Continue tracking all employees whose I-9 documents are verified virtually so that you can physically inspect their documents when operations return to normal.
- Consider scheduling an I-9 audit through HRK or another service provider after reverting to normal processes to ensure that all your Form I-9s have been updated correctly.
- Consider moving to a cloud-based I-9 platform.
- If you are a Full-Service or Virtual HR client and would like our assistance updating your I-9 processing and storage practices, please email us.
The People Simplifying HR
For almost twenty years, HR Knowledge has made it our mission to demystify the complex and daunting process of HR management. We do more than just provide the level of service and technology you’d expect from an industry leader. We combine an unparalleled passion for service with our decades of HR, payroll, and benefits experience to provide our clients with personalized and actionable advice that is second–to–none. From managed payroll to employee benefits to HR support, we can help your organization thrive, grow, and reduce operating costs—no matter what industry you serve. Whether you’re interested in our Full-Service solution or just need your employee handbook written, HR Knowledge can help you minimize risk while staying on top of compliance regulations. The bottom line? We’re not just another cloud-based technology company that also does HR, #WeAreHR. Get the scoop on how we can help you simplify HR.
This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.