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I-9 Requirement Flexibility Extended

12/28/2020
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have, once again, extended the I-9 flexibility that was set to expire December 31, 2020 for 30 more days. Following this extension, increased I-9 flexibility for remote workplaces will run through January 31, 2021.  

History of Increased I-9 Flexibility 

The DHS and ICE instituted increased I-9 flexibility on March 19, 2020, in response to the precautions employers and employees were taking because of COVID-19. This is the seventh time since the policy’s establishment that it has been extended—a process we have detailed extensively on our blawg: 

What is increased I-9 Flexibility?

Increased I-9 flexibility allows employers to verify an employee’s identity and authorization documents remotely using fax, email, or a video link. Employers have three business days to physically inspect the documents when “normal” operations resume.  

Who Qualifies?

It’s important to know that the increased flexibility only applies to employers and workplaces operating 100% remotely. There are relatively few exceptions for businesses with employees present at workplaces; however, the DHS will evaluate situations where employers or employees are subject to COVID-19 quarantine or lockdown protocols on a case-by-case basis. 

Looking Ahead 

It’s hard to predict the future of I-9 flexibility for remote employers, especially when you take into account that it has already been extended numerous times and COVID-19 cases are surging in the U.S., but it is reasonable to assume that the flexibility will be extended once again before January 31, 2021. The DHS and ICE advise employers to monitor their websites for the latest news about I-9 flexibility—particularly when it will be terminated.

GoffWilson

With a gray area around who qualifies, no clear end date, and a short window to bring documentation up to date when “normal” operations resume, it behooves employers to have a plan in place for I-9 compliance. GoffWilson solely practices immigration law and has assisted businesses of all sizes and types to develop strategies to remain I-9 compliant. If you have a question about what the latest extension means for your company, or any other I-9 or immigration questions, contact GoffWilson today! Immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion.
Filed under:Form I-9 Compliance, Immigration Law