DHS Removes Flexibility From Form I-9 Requirements

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COVID-19 Flexibilities.

According to the flexibility notice released on March 20, 2020, DHS assessed certain COVID-19-related Form I-9 completion processes as they pertain to the physical inspection of Form I-9 paperwork on a case-by-case basis.

Therefore, effective as of April 1, 2021, only those employees who physically report to work at the company’s location according to any normal, constant or expected schedule are subject to the requirement that employers inspect employees’ Form I-9 identity and employment eligibility paperwork in person.

The flexibility would be maintained through July 31, 2023, based on a notification released by DHS and ICE in October 2022.

New Announcement.

However, according to a new announcement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), on May 4, 2023, employers must complete in-person physical document inspections for employees whose documents were remotely inspected during the interim flexibilities by August 30, 2023.

According to the March 2020 notice, employers were permitted to temporarily postpone the physical examination of employees’ identity and employment authorization documents if their employees were exercising remote work due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

The updated declaration makes it clear to the employers that for those recruited on or after March 20, 2020, and who have only received a virtual or remote examination due to the flexibilities, they will have until August 30, 2023, to conduct all required physical examinations of identity and employment eligibility documents.

Consequently, employers now have more time to execute in-person physical inspections to verify identity and employment eligibility documents and to annotate Form I-9 for these individuals.

DHS published a proposed rule on August 18, 2022, that would provide alternate methods of verifying identity and employment eligibility.

On October 17, 2022, the period for public feedback was over. DHS intends to publish a final rule later this year after analyzing public comments.

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