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Form I-9 Review Flexibility Extended Through End of 2021

Effective September 1, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced another extension of the flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19 until December 31, 2021. This temporary guidance was set to expire August 31, 2021. The extension will continue to allow remote review of identity and employment authorization documents of employees who telework during the national emergency.

It is important to note that the policy exemption applies only to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely; if any employees are physically present at a work location, no exceptions will be allowed. If an employer is not eligible for the exemption, it may continue to designate authorized representatives to act on its behalf to conduct in-person document reviews.

Next Steps for Employers

Employers must obtain, inspect and retain copies of the documents within three business days for purposes of completing Section 2. Eligible employers may inspect the employee’s I-9 documents remotely, using video link, fax or email, etc. In addition, employers who avail themselves of this option must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy to each employee. Refer to the original news release for more information on how to obtain, remotely inspect, and retain copies of the identity and employment eligibility documents to complete Section 2 of Form I-9.

Once normal operations resume, all employees who were onboarded using remote verification must report complete in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9 within three business days of their return to the workplace.

E-Verify participants who meet the criteria and choose the remote inspection option should continue to follow current guidance and create cases for their new hires within three business days from the date of hire. Refer to DHS’ COVID-19 webpage for more information.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.