Subscribe for bLAWg
updates via email

Past Articles

Back to blawg »

An Extension of Increased I-9 Flexibility Announced

Share |

On December 15, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced an extension of the flexibility rules related to Form I-9 compliance—the policy will now run until April 30, 2022.

History of Increased I-9 Flexibility

If the extension of I-9 is beginning to feel routine, that’s because it is. This marks the 12th time the policy has been extended since DHS issued the initial guidance on March 20, 2020. GoffWilson has covered the extensions of this rule thoroughly on our blawg:

What is Allowed By Increased I-9 Flexibility 

DHS’s extension of its increased I-9 flexibility is the result of the precautions taken by employers and employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased I-9 rule flexibility allows employers operating remotely to postpone the in-person inspection of documents required when completing Form I-9. Instead, the rule allows employers to examine documents remotely via email, fax, or video link—provided they make the appropriate annotation and perform a physical, in-person inspection within three days of resuming normal operations. 
The initial policy only covered employers and workplaces that were operating completely remotely because of the pandemic. However, it was expanded in April 2021 to offer more fluidity for employers slowly returning to in-person operations, allowing them to remotely inspect I-9 documentation for remote employees. The April expansion wasn’t retroactive, and only applied to employees onboarded after its implementation.

The Future of I-9 Flexibility 

The future of increased I-9 flexibility remains unclear and employers are encouraged to monitor the DHS and ICE websites for updates on when the extensions will be terminated and normal operations resume. That said, with COVID-19 cases surging in much of the country and the rule having been extended numerous times already, it’s reasonable to assume another extension when the current one is set to expire. Of course, they could just as easily end the extension without warning.   
It’s also worth noting that the DHS is seeking information from employers on their use of remote verification options, and exploring “alternative options” for physical document examination in the future.

GoffWilson Immigration 

Because of the uncertainty of the future of increased Form I-9 flexibility and the complexity it has added to I-9 compliance, it’s vital for employers to understand the rules and have a strategy in place for when the DHS rescinds the additional I-9 flexibility. GoffWilson has more than 30 years of experience practicing immigration law and is a valuable asset to businesses of all sizes when it comes to I-9 compliance.
GoffWilson solely practices immigration law and offers a number of I-9 services to employers, including comprehensive company audits, training workshops, and public training seminars. If you have a question about what the most recent I-9 flexibility extension means for your business or want to have a plan in place for when normal operations resume, GoffWilson can help. Contact GoffWilson today to learn how we can ensure your business is I-9 compliant. Immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion.
Filed under:Form I-9 Compliance