In a May 4, 2023 announcement, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), granted employers until August 30, 2023 to resume compliance with pre-COVID-19 Form I-9 requirements. As we previously reported on September 26, 2022 and October 20, 2022, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DHS has been allowing employers with remote employees to collect, inspect, and retain certain employees' identity and employment authorization documents remotely, rather than in person. This flexibility, which was originally set to expire in October 2022, was last extended until July 31, 2023. While the July 31st expiration date remains in place, the DHS is now offering employers a grace period of 30 days to reach compliance.
Employers that have already transitioned or are in the process of transitioning employees back to their physical office locations should be mindful that employees who physically report to work "on any regular, consistent, or predictable basis" must have their employment authorization documents inspected in person. If you have any questions about complying with DHS's Form I-9 flexibilities, or compliance once these flexibilities have ended, please reach out to the authors of this Alert or another member of Venable's Labor and Employment law team.