On August 18, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced a fourth extension of its prior guidance relaxing the in-person verification requirements of Form I-9 for employers operating remotely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The extension adds 30 days to the accommodation period and is set to expire on September 19, 2020.
While the original guidance was issued on March 19, 2020, and adopted for an initial 60-day term set to expire on May 19, 2020, the I-9 compliance flexibility policy has been subsequently extended in 30-day increments as employers continue to face workplace challenges while operating in dynamic and ever-changing remote environments. The latest extension comes at a much-needed time, as the previous 30-day extension was set to expire on August 19, 2020.
The I-9 compliance flexibility policy will continue to apply only to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. Moreover, there are still no exceptions for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for employees who are physically present at their employer’s work location.
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will monitor developments with respect to these and other policy changes and will post updates on the Immigration blog and in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar programs.