ICE Announces Extension and New Employee Guidance to Form I-9 Compliance Flexibility
On May 26, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced an extension of Form I-9 compliance flexibilities that was initially granted last year. Citing continued precautions due to COVID-19, the announcement declared that the flexibilities would be extended until August 31, 2021.
The announcement continues March 2020 guidance that allows employers to examine Form I-9 documentation remotely via video link, fax or email during the ongoing pandemic. The current extension includes guidance for employees hired on or after June 1, 2021, and work exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions. Employees are temporarily exempt from the physical inspection requirements as announced in this recent guidance until they undertake “non-remote employment on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis, or the extension of the flexibilities related to such requirements is terminated, whichever is earlier.”
It is important to note that the policy only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating completely remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, there are no exceptions or flexibilities being provided for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9.
The Department of Homeland Security and ICE plan to monitor the ongoing pandemic and provide updated guidance as needed. CUPA-HR will keep members apprised of any updated guidance on the Form I-9 verification process.