Any successful business must remain informed as to how government regulations affect their employees. With the constantly evolving expectations of a post-pandemic society, this fact holds more critical than ever.
Every employer operating in the United States is required to complete a Form I-9 for all hired individuals, whether they be citizens or non-citizens. This process requires the employee’s physical presentation of the documents listed on Form I-9 within three business days of beginning work; the employer must inspect these documents in the physical presence of the employee to reasonably determine the validity of the documents.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, flexibility became an overwhelming necessity, with a large proportion of the population transitioning towards remote work. As the post-pandemic society progresses, flexible working policies that carried businesses through the unpredictability of the pandemic are becoming less necessary.
Beginning October 31, 2022, employers must adopt the pre-pandemic practice of physically inspecting employees’ Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification documents in person during the onboarding process for all new employees, as well as perform physical inspections for all employees whose documents were previously verified remotely.
As of November 1, 2022, all newly onboarded employees must undergo this in-person Form I-9 verification process, and by November 3, 2022, all employees hired using the remote verification process must report to their employer in person to verify their Form I-9 documentation. Once the employer physically inspects these documents, they must then update the Form I-9 by adding “documents physically inspected” to Section 2 or 3, as appropriate.
Please note: this process is mandatory even if your workforce continues to remain fully remote.
This transition is a sign of normalcy, and it is crucial that all employers strictly adhere to the Departments of Homeland Security’s I-9 requirements.
More specific information about I-9 compliance and instructions can be found on the USCIS website at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9 and at https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-announces-extension-i-9-compliance-flexibility-3.