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I-9 Flexibility Extended Until the New Year

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Happy holidays to employers and workplaces operating remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic—the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have extended their guidance allowing increased I-9 flexibility through December 31, 2020.
Through the guidance, workplaces functioning remotely are allowed to inspect Section 2 documents over video, fax, email, or other formats. 

Increased I-9 Flexibility During COVID-19 

The policy was originally enacted on March 20, 2020, and was scheduled to expire after 60 days. Since its announcement of the guidance, DHS has extended it six times (including this most recent extension). The last time the guidance was revisited was September 19, 2020, when DHS extended the policy for an additional 60 days, having it run through November 19, 2020. 
GoffWilson has rigorously detailed the policy and its extension over this period of time on our blawg: 

Who The Guidance Applies To 

Increased I-9 flexibility only applies to employers and businesses that are operating remotely. Businesses with employees physically present at the workplace do not qualify for these exceptions and must follow the normal rules and regulations to remain in compliance. 

Eligible employers taking advantage of this guidance will want to note, under the current policy, when “normal operations” resume, they’ll have just three days to verify the employment eligibility in-person of any employee onboarded remotely.

Looking Ahead at I-9s

It’s hard to predict how long employers can anticipate the increase in I-9 flexibility to last, especially given the number of times it has already been extended. It’s similarly difficult to anticipate how DHS and ICE will resume “normal operations.”  

GoffWilson Immigration Law  

Solely practicing immigration law, GoffWilson can provide businesses with clarity, help them to develop a proactive plan (for the present and future), and remain in compliance when dealing with fluid regulations such as the guidance on increased I-9 flexibility. GoffWilson is a partner to businesses operating globally and a valuable resource for staying current on complex and ever-changing immigration law. Contact GoffWilson today—immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion!
Filed under:Form I-9 Compliance, Immigration Law