The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) once again is extending its flexibility regarding the physical presence requirements for I-9 inspection for another 30 days until July 19, 2020, due to the ongoing precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eligible employers may continue to inspect Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax, or email) and must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each covered employee.
The eligibility requirements are unchanged, applicable to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no flexibility is implemented. ICE has said, however, that DHS will evaluate on a case-by-case basis situations where existing or newly hired employees are subject to COVID-19 quarantine or lockdown protocols. If employers are not eligible for the flexibility, they may continue to designate authorized representatives to act on their behalf to review documents in person.
All employees who were onboarded remotely must report to their employer within three business days for in-person verification once the employer’s normal operations resume. This date may be different (earlier or later) than the date the government policy ends.
Previously, employers that were served notices of inspection (NOIs) during the month of March 2020 (and had not yet responded) were granted an automatic 60-day extension from the effective date to respond. ICE is now granting an additional 30-day extension, but notes that this will be the final extension.
DHS will continue to monitor the COVID-19 national emergency and provide updates as needed. Employers should monitor the DHS and ICE websites for updates regarding extensions and the termination of those extension.
Jackson Lewis attorneys will provide updates as they become available.