United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is extending its remote Form I-9 verification policy through April 30, 2022 to help employers cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employers must inspect employment eligibility documents in person for those onboarded remotely within either (1) three days after the employee begins working onsite consistently, or (2) within three business days after the national emergency’s end or ICE’s termination of the remote policy, whichever comes first.
ICE has renewed its remote I-9 verification policy multiple times, and it could be further extended.
CLARIFICATIONS TO REMOTE VERIFICATION POLICY
Prior to April 1, 2021, employers could only verify Form I-9 documentation remotely if their workplaces were 100% remote to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, ICE will allow employers with some onsite staff to verify Forms I-9 remotely.
Any remote working employee hired on or after April 1, 2021 is exempt from completing their Form I-9 identity examination in person. Once an employee returns to in-person work on a regular basis, they must complete in-person Form I-9 verification.
Employers may begin to work on their backlog of physical Form I-9 inspections before employees return to in-person work.
what to do when the policy ends
Once the interim policy is over, employers will have three business days to review all documents for employees onboarded remotely in their physical presence. In the Form I-9’s Section 2 additional information field, employers can mark “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay. Employers should note the date of inspection and the phrase “documents physically examined” when they complete the in-person review in the Section 2 additional information field.
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