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I-9 Flexibility Extended Once Again

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In March, at the outset of COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a host of temporary changes to I-9 compliance to accommodate the stay-at-home orders and dramatic shift to remote work brought by the coronavirus pandemic. GoffWilson has detailed the announcement and its extensions extensively on our blog: 
On September 15, DHS and ICE announced an extension of the flexibility of I-9 requirements for another 60 days, pushing the expiration date to November 19, 2020.

What You Need Know 

The most notable aspect of this extension is that it pertains solely to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. Under the guidance, employers operating remotely are able to inspect Section 2 documents over video, fax, email, or other formats—noting “COVID-19” in the Additional Information section. 
When “normal” operations resume, employers have three days to make a physical inspection of Section 2 documents and should write “physically examined” with the date of inspection in the field for Additional Information. 
It’s important to note that employers who have employees physically present at their places of business are excluded from this flexibility and must verify employment eligibility documentation in person. 

Moving Forward 

DHS is monitoring the current situation and will continue to update this guidance as necessary; they encourage employers to monitor both the DHS and ICE websites for updates on when they will terminate the extension and when normal options will resume. The situation is fluid and it’s difficult to predict what will happen going forward—the announcement has already been extended multiple times. 
Regardless of whether or not the announcement is extended again in November, it is vital that your business have a strategy for resuming “normal” operations. Neither DHS nor ICE have given any indication that they’ll be anything but rigid when it comes to timelines at the conclusion of this guidance. 

GoffWilson Immigration Law 

For more than 30 years, GoffWilson has been the go-to resource for I-9 compliance, providing everything from comprehensive company audits to training workshops, along with annually holding public training seminars. If your business needs help instituting a post-COVID strategy, or wants to take a preemptive compliance measure such as performing a self-audit, contact GoffWilson today. Immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion.

Filed under:E-Verify, Form I-9 Compliance, Immigration Law