Policy only applies to employers and workplaces operating remotely.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced an extension of relaxation in rules related to Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) compliance for workplaces operating remotely until Nov. 19.
Due to the continued precautions related to covid-19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will extend accommodations announced on March 19, 2020, for an additional 60 days, ICE said Tuesday.
DHS had then announced that it would exercise prosecutorial discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
However, this policy only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely, ICE said.
If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being implemented at this time for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, it said.
Employers are required to monitor the DHS and ICE websites for additional updates regarding when the extensions will be terminated, and normal operations will resume, ICE said.
DHS had announced in March that employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to covid-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence.
However, employers must inspect the Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, etc.) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents, within three business days for purposes of completing Section 2.
Employers also should enter “covid-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the Section 2 Additional Information field once physical inspection takes place after normal operations resume.
Once the documents have been physically inspected, the employer should add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to the Section 2 additional information field on the Form I-9, or to section 3 as appropriate.
Employers who avail themselves of this option must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee, ICE said.
Any audit of subsequent Forms I-9 would use the “in-person completed date” as a starting point for these employees only.