Preparing Businesses for Form I-9 Compliance Changes
Rockwater Associates is committed to keeping our clients informed and prepared for regulatory changes that impact their operations. In May, 2023 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) sent out an update in regards to changes in policy around Form I-9 requirements.Flexibilities announced in March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will come to an end. Plan ahead and make sure you minimize the impact on your business.
The Form I-9 Flexibilities and Updates
Back in March 2020, in response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, ICE introduced flexibilities for employers to conduct remote reviews of employees’ identity and employment authorization documents. These flexibilities allowed businesses to defer the physical examination of documents in the employees’ presence temporarily. The expectation was that the physical inspection would occur within three business days after normal operations resumed.
The initial flexibilities were extended throughout the pandemic, providing employers with much-needed flexibility in meeting the Form I-9 requirements. However, as the situation has improved, DHS has announced that the COVID-19 flexibilities will sunset on July 31, 2023.
Important Compliance Deadline
To ensure a smooth transition, the DHS and ICE have granted employers an additional 30 days to reach compliance with the Form I-9 requirements. This means that all businesses must complete the required physical inspection of identity and employment eligibility documents by August 30, 2023.
If your company has been utilizing the temporary flexibilities for remote document examination, now is the time to plan ahead and prepare to conduct physical inspections within the given timeframe. Ensuring compliance with Form I-9 requirements is essential to avoid potential penalties and legal issues.
Who is Affected?
Employers who hired individuals on or after March 20, 2020, and conducted only virtual or remote examinations under the COVID-19 flexibilities are impacted by this update. All these individuals must have their documents physically examined by the specified deadline.
Steps to Ensure Compliance
Review Your Records: Check your employment records to identify individuals who were hired on or after March 20, 2020, and had virtual or remote document examinations.
- Schedule Physical Inspections: Plan and schedule physical inspections of the identity and employment eligibility documents for the affected individuals before the August 30, 2023 deadline.
- Maintain Accurate Documentation: Ensure that all physical inspections are accurately documented on the Form I-9. Remember to add “documents physically examined” along with the date of examination to the appropriate section.
- Prepare for the Final Rule: Stay informed about the potential changes to the examination of identity and employment eligibility documents that may come with the upcoming final rule from DHS. We’ll keep you updated on any further developments.
Why Compliance Matters
Form I-9 compliance is crucial for all businesses, as failure to comply can lead to serious consequences, including fines and penalties. By adhering to the regulatory requirements, you safeguard your business from potential legal liabilities and maintain a positive reputation as a responsible employer.
At Rockwater Associates, we understand the challenges businesses face in navigating complex regulations like Form I-9 compliance. Our team of experts is here to help you streamline the process, ensuring accuracy and compliance while you focus on what matters most – running your business.
The recent update from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement emphasizes the importance of timely compliance with Form I-9 requirements. As the deadline approaches, it is essential for employers to take action and conduct the required physical examination of identity and employment eligibility documents for affected individuals.
Rockwater Associates is committed to assisting your business in this process. We offer comprehensive business tax services and can provide guidance on Form I-9 compliance and other regulatory matters. Let us help you navigate these changes and stay compliant to protect your business’s interests.
If you have any questions or need assistance with Form I-9 compliance, do not hesitate to reach out to our team. Together, we can ensure your business remains on the path to success while meeting all regulatory obligations.