I-9s: What Employers Should Know About Completing I-9 Verification Done Using Virtual Inspection and About Adopting the Authorized Representative Model
May 5, 2021
Since the initial March 20, 2020 government announcement of I-9 Flexibility, many employers have been completing the Form I-9 for newly hired employees using virtual inspection of documents. Virtual inspection is just the first step of a two-step process under the COVID Flexibility.
The second step is to review in person the documents that were presented virtually, and annotate the Form I-9 (we refer to this process as “perfecting the I-9"). Note: If you used an Authorized Representative to complete the I-9 initially, you did not do virtual inspection, and you do not need to perfect the I-9. (Read more about the Authorized Representative model below.)
Perfecting the I-9 must be done within 3 business days of when the government Flexibility ends or when the employee undertakes non-remote employment “on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis,” whichever is earlier, for employees hired on or after 4/1/2021. For those hired from 3/20/2020 to 3/31/2021, perfecting the I-9 must occur within 3 business days of when “normal operations resume” or government Flexibility ends, whichever is earlier.
Depending on how many employees you have hired since March 2020, the process of perfecting the I-9s may take several days or longer (i.e., more than 3 business days). In its latest extension of I-9 Flexibility (issued March 31, 2021), ICE suggested that employers “in their discretion” could begin perfecting I-9s now for those employees hired on or after March 20, 2020 and for whom virtual inspection of documents was conducted.
If you would like tips on how employers might begin the process of perfecting I-9s, please contact Weaver Schlenger.
The Authorized Representative (“AR”) is any person designated by the employer to complete and sign the Form I-9 on behalf of the employer. Due to more employees working remotely, the AR model may work best for your workforce. Keep in mind that you as the employer remain liable for any violations in connection with the form or the verification process when completed by your AR.
If you would like to learn more about the AR model for completing I-9s, please contact Weaver Schlenger.