Many businesses have had to deal with changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, labor shortages, and long delays in government processing. For example, companies had to change how they completed Form I-9 to accommodate social distancing during the pandemic. It seems they can expect further changes shortly, too. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Form I-9 will soon see revisions, and the consensus is that changes may prove significant.
Many businesses hope the revised Form I-9 will become easier to fill out. There has been few changes over the last decade, but many expect the DHS may change it back to its original one-page format containing Sections 1 and 2. Furthermore, they hope the re-verification section becomes a supplementary area for use as needed. Preparers and translators, when used, would also complete a supplementary section of Form I-9.
The current Form I-9 will expire on October 31, 2022. However, the government could choose to extend its use, as they have done with previous versions. As a result, businesses may not need to use a new version immediately. However, employees should see what flexibilities the DHS decides to allow employers when completing Form I-9, especially for remote employees.
The government asked for input earlier in the year concerning the remote examination of the documents that employees must present to prove their identity and employment eligibility. Currently, the flexibilities that have allowed employers to inspect these documents remotely will also expire on October 31, 2022. If these flexibilities do end, employers who hired employees remotely and used the allowed flexibilities will have three business days to verify these employees’ documentation in person.
During the pandemic, employers examined Form I-9’s Section 2 for remote workers using email, fax, or video links within three business days and retained them remotely. However, the DHS stated that employers would return to inspecting the documents in person when the national emergency ended. Because the DHS has extended these flexibilities many times, employers will need to wait and see if they are extended again or made permanent.
Whether or not employers will continue inspecting Form I-9 documents remotely, it is essential to comply with Form I-9 rules and regulations. However, compliance can be challenging when these regulations change frequently. The best way to keep up with any changes and remain compliant is by using an I-9 management system. This tool guides employers through each step and ensures correct Form I-9s. It also safely and securely stores the form and any accompanying documentation.
Ensure compliance today by switching to an electronic I-9 management tool with I-9 Compliance.