United States: Further update on Form I-9 obligations

United States: Further update on Form I-9 obligations

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Due to the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is extending the temporary policy regarding the remote completion of the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9.

What has changed?

Further to our previous update regarding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s announcement in March that they would be rolling out measures giving flexibility to the I-9 personal identification and employment authorization verification process for individuals hired in the United States, it has been announced that this policy will be extended for 30 days to June 18th. These measures apply to those who are working remotely due to the pandemic and permit employers to complete the verification process without seeing the physical documents which authenticate an individual’s identification and employment authorization.

Companies who have employees working remotely can complete the verification of new employee’s documents via video, fax or email and as per guidelines, must obtain these within three business days of the individuals start date and store them for any potential future ICE inspection. Further extensions may be possible, however these measures will remain in place throughout the extension period or until three days following the end of the COVID-19 emergency, whichever comes first.

In addition to the above, identity documents that are due to expire on or after March 1st that have not been extended by the issuing authority, can still be accepted for Form I-9 purposes. Nevertheless, this must be documented by the employer and “COVID-19” recorded within the “additional information” field. Within 90 days of the termination of the temporary policy, a new valid document must be presented by the employee and the relevant details for said item to be recorded on the Form I-9, to be dated and initialed by the employer.

What to expect / impact?

Employers should ensure they have implemented the correct hiring practices and training of their personnel on completion of the I-9 to ensure compliance if audited. They should then be diligent in taking measures post the COVID-19 emergency to ensure Form I-9 requirements continue to be met.

For further information on the US Form I-9, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team at immigration@sterlinglexicon.com. 

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Leanne Cottrell
Leanne Cottrell

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