Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification – Compliance Flexibilities Extended Through August 2023

As coronavirus (“COVID-19”) flexibilities are faded out with the end of the public health emergency, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (“ICE”) have announced important Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification compliance updates for employers. The Form I-9 flexibilities, which were set to end on July 31, 2023, will be extended through August 30, 2023. Employers must ensure that all employment eligibility documents are physically verified by this date.

To remind, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I-9 flexibilities allowed employers to remotely examine evidence of employment authorization and delay physical examination of these documents for entirely off-site employees until these employees resumed on-site employment on a regular basis or until the end of the flexibilities, whichever occurred sooner. However, with the extension of these flexibilities ending on August 30th, employers must ensure that for any employees whose documents were reviewed remotely, in-person examinations of their Form I-9 documents must be completed prior to August 30th.

After August 30th, Form I-9 Employment Verification will return to its pre-pandemic requirements, which necessitate the following steps to remain in compliance:

  1. Employees must complete Part 1 of Form I-9 on or before the first day of employment.
  2. Employers must review the original identity and employment authorization documents provided by the employee within three (3) business days from the employee’s first day of work for pay and complete and sign Part 2 of Form I-9.
  3. Employers must maintain and update Form I-9 as needed to re-verify or rehire employees.

As Form I-9 violations penalties have increased and now range from $272 to $2,701 per Form I-9 for the first offense and $5,404 to $27,018 for second and subsequent offenses, employers should take immediate steps to ensure that they are in compliance with I-9 requirements as soon as possible and prior to August 30th. This is a good time to reevaluate recruitment, I-9, and E-Verify practices to ensure compliance with federal laws and prevent assessments of heavy civil penalties by the Department of Justice.

DID YOU KNOW? The Munsch Hardt Immigration Team has extensive experience assisting with I-9 compliance and employer sanctions issues and can assist with internal audits and provide HR and legal department personnel training on best compliance practices.