In recent years, California employers have had the benefit of more relaxed rules around the physical verification of I-9 forms. Recognizing and utilizing overseas talent has been a more streamlined process as a result, reducing workloads across California. That being said, recently, those rules have become stringent again, and those who were not aware of this should pay attention.
August 30th was the deadline for physically verifying I-9 forms. These I-9 forms serve as a verification of identity and employment authorization for all workers. For the past three years, this process was put to the wayside. Now that time is over, and frankly, it’s past. Here’s what employers should know.
Why was the need for physical inspection ended?
This accommodation, made by the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS), was deemed a health risk to inspectors and employers. It was also considered not necessary.
Why did this period end?
From a practical standpoint, the end of the pandemic saw the respective end of many accommodations. The flexible arrangements that benefited both employer and employee have gone with it. Now that authorities place the public health emergency in the past, so do the various changes and flexible arrangements that go with it.
What does this mean for employers?
There was a period of time from the onset of the pandemic to March 31st, 2021 when employees were hired in that time for employees from other countries working in the US to avoid the physical inspection. Now, those employees should have submitted their I-9 forms to you, and you will need to place a physical inspection as a top priority. This physical inspection is an essential part of staying in compliance with immigration law and avoiding fines.
I missed the deadline, what now?
Becoming aware of a missed deadline can be anxiety-inducing. As with any immigration law compliance issue, your attorney can offer you significant insight into the process and options ahead of you.