Last year, the government announced an I-9 “compliance flexibility policy.” This policy allows certain employers to obtain, remotely inspect, and retain copies of I-9 documents on a temporary basis as a result of the pandemic. The policy has been extended to March 31, 2021.
Immigration may interpret the end of the policy on March 31 as a “hard stop.” Employers would then need to review original documents – directly or through an authorized representative – within 3 business days. Employer should make plans now to review original documents in person. They should also update existing I-9s completed through remote review with the understanding they may need to complete the in-person review within 3 days of the policy ending. This is especially important for employers who on-boarded a large number of employees and virtually reviewed the documents. I-9s for these employees will later require in-person inspection.
As employees return to the worksite, original documents should be reviewed and the I-9s updated according to existing guidance. Employers should be mindful of the I-9 obligations and be proactive in planning for the end of this virtual option. Employers may face a short timeline to conduct in person review of what may be a large number of employees hired over the past 12 months. Feel free to let us know if you would like to seek consultation regarding I-9 compliance or internal I-9 audits.