I-9 Compliance and Client Guidance

Before new talent can officially join an organization, many forms are necessary to have on file. One government issued document, the Form I-9, verifies the employee’s authorization to legally work in the United States. Maintaining I-9 compliance is crucial for all U.S. employers to avoid potential penalties and legal complications.

Normal Compliance Resumes July 31

Due to social distancing measures and remote work arrangements that evolved during the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) temporarily allowed employers to verify I-9 documentation virtually, something not permissible in the past.

With the federal Public Health Emergency for COVID-19 ending on May 11, the DHS and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have announced they will be ending COVID -19 flexibilities for Form I-9 requirements as of July 31, 2023, with an additional 30 days for employers to reach compliance.

So, what does this mean for our clients?  

The good news is no one is expected to be a detective. While I-9 compliance can be complicated for employers with a distributed workforce, PBO Advisory Group is here to help navigate these tricky waters.

Potential Solutions for Consideration

If an employer is unable to physically meet with the employee to review original I-9 documents, the federal law allows employers to use an authorized representative to fulfill this function on the employer’s behalf. Note that state laws may restrict who can complete the I-9 on the employer’s behalf (for example, California prohibits notary publics from providing immigration services, including completion of the I-9, unless the notary is also a designated immigration consultant under state law).

Alternatively, electronic I-9 management platforms, such as Equifax and Workbright, are available in the marketplace. These affordable systems are designed to simplify this complicated process.

Future Developments

The DHS has proposed a rule that would create a framework under which the DHS Secretary could authorize alternative options for document examination procedures with respect to some or all employers. A final rule is expected later this year. PBO Advisory will continue to keep our clients informed of any future developments related to the proposed rule for virtual/remote inspections.

Next Steps

Below are recommended next steps to ensure timely compliance:

  • Review current standard operating procedures (SOP) to comply with this government form.
  • Review processes in place today; Is refinement or an I-9 audit needed to ensure compliance?
  • Reach out to your HRIS to determine if they provide any support in this area.
  • Who else on the team needs to be informed and/or trained on the new requirements and process?

Your PBO Advisory HR Team is happy to walk you through possible exposure and provide solutions. Reach out to your HR consultant to assess and determine best next steps.

Nicole Devine
Consulting Chief People Officer
858-622-1681 Ext. 287