AAU joined CUPA-HR and nine other higher education associations in sending a letter to USCIS Director Ur Jaddou requesting that previously announced flexibilities on Form I-9 compliance requirements be extended through June 30, 2022. The initial guidance, issued at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, permits remote inspection of employee identity and employment authorization documents; it expires on December 31, 2021. The guidance requires employers to conduct in-person verification within three business days once normal operations resume.
The letter states that colleges and universities will face “insurmountable challenges” to comply with the three-business-day requirement since the current guidance expires between Christmas and New Year’s Day, during a time when most campuses are on winter break. Further, the letter states, with the appearance of the Omicron variant, campuses need to remain flexible in case they need to resort to remote instruction in spring. Finally, the letter requests USCIS to extend the guidance on or before December 17, 2021, so that higher education institutions have sufficient time to prepare for any compliance obligations.