Employers Struggle to Keep Up as I-9 Flexibilities End

November 15, 2022

As employers adjust to new requirements and expired flexibilities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, two compliance challenges have stood out. These include keeping up with the Form I-9 and Public Access File.

For some background, every employer in the US must complete the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process. This form verifies the work authorization of new employees. There are several particular requirements to keep in mind when filling out the Form I-9, including:

  1. Complete Section 1 by the employee’s first day of work;
  2. Complete Section 2 by the end of the employee’s third day of work, and
  3. To complete Section 2, an employer must physically verify the identity and work authorization documents submitted by the employee.

These standards loosened during the pandemic, allowing employers to verify an employee’s documentation remotely. Such options included email, fax, or video calls. Since its introduction early in the pandemic, this policy has experienced several renewals. Its latest renewal will expire on July 31st, 2023.

Suppose an employee submits employment authorization documents with an expiration date. In that case, employers must also remember to reverify these employees’ work authorization before its expiration, as the pandemic made it difficult for many workers to acquire updated work authorization documents. However, the DHS also allowed employers to accept certain List B documents up to 90 days past their expiration under certain conditions.

These conditions required timely filed submissions and that they had proof of the request for new documentation attached. In addition, the DHS allowed employers to accept approval notifications for employment authorization documents in place of the documents themselves.

Similarly, the DHS provided several flexibilities to employers enrolled in the E-Verify program. Most notably, the flexibilities extended the timeframe for resolving tentative non-confirmations, which the system flags an employee’s documents.

However, as the pandemic subsides, the DHS has decided to end several policies for Form I-9 flexibilities. This decision includes permitting employers to accept expired list B documents and extended timeframes for resolving tentative non-confirmations.

Despite these ended policies, other flexibilities saw extensions. For example, the permission for employers to use virtual means to verify employees’ identities and work authorization documentation for the I-9 remains in place. However, many employers returning to normal operations have struggled to keep up with these requirements. One of the best ways to simplify the process and ensure compliance is with an electronic I-9 management tool. This tool can provide step-by-step guidance to completing the process. It will also help employers keep up with the ever-shifting changes in the Form I-9 process.

When it comes to your work, automation makes eligibility verification quick and seamless. Get a head start today with I-9 Compliance.