U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is extending Interim COVID-19 Flexibility until 31st October 2022, it relaxed enforcement of the normal requirement to physically inspect the original documents introduced by new hires during the I-9 process and thus allows eligible employers to continue to implement remote I-9 verification in specific circumstances during the COVID-19 crisis. The policy had been set to expire on 30th April 2022.
Interim I-9 policy for employees hired on or after April 1, 2021
The interim I-9 policy allows employers to use remote Form I-9 techniques. For employees who are (1) recruited on or after 1st April 2021. And (2) are working fully remotely as a COVID-19 precaution. Even if the employer has employees working non-remotely at the employer’s premises. However, employers are expected to use standard I-9 procedures for fresh recruits. Who are working non-remotely on a “regular, steady, or predictable basis.”
If the I-9 process for an eligible new hire is finished without physical document investigation on or after April 1, 2021. The employer will be expected to review the employee’s I-9 documentation. In-person upon the earlier of (1) three days after the employee begins working non-remotely on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis. Or (2) in no less than three days after the COVID-19 crisis has finished or ICE has terminated the remote policy.
Employers can start physical inspection of impacted employees’ documents sooner than this timeframe at the employers’ discretion. Employers should guarantee that they implement such an inspection practice in a non-discriminatory manner across the workforce.
Additional guidance on I-9 completion after March 20, 2020
On 20th March 2020, ICE declared that it would evaluate specific COVID-19-related Form I-9 completion practices on a case-by-case basis as they relate to physical inspection. ICE has recognized, however, that in case-by-case situations. (For example, a case where an impacted employee is no longer employed by the employer). Employers might have been not able to timely inspect and verify in person the Form I-9 supporting documents of the employee(s) recruited since March 20, 2020, as described above. In such cases, ICE advises that employers might memorialize the reasons for this inability in a memorandum. Which should be retained with each affected employee’s Form I-9. These reasons will be evaluated, on a case-by-case basis, by ICE in the event of a Form I-9 audit.
Temporary Policy Allowing Acceptance of Expired List B Documents to End on May 1
As recently reported, ICE’s separate policy allowing employers to accept terminated List B identity documents during the COVID-19 pandemic is as yet set to lapse on 1st May 2022. Starting on that date, employers might accept only unexpired List B documents. Employers will have until 31st July 2022, to update the I-9s of current employees. Who introduced expired List B documents under that temporary policy.
ICE regulatory plans for I-9 verification | Interim COVID-19 Flexibility
In its current regulatory plan, ICE includes plans for a proposed regulation that would give options for the in-person inspection of identity. And employment authorization documents in the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process. The particular choices that may be included in a new regulation are not yet known. However, they could include forms of remote inspection similar. To those that have been temporarily in place due to the COVID-19. The proposed regulation is slated to be published in June 2022, though agencies routinely bypass their projected publication dates.