Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) extended its relaxed I-9 rules, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will extend its relaxed enforcement policy until August 31, 2021.
As the Agency explained: On March 20, 2020, due to precautions implemented by employers and employees associated with COVID-19, DHS announced that it would exercise prosecutorial discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This policy only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being implemented at this time for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.
Going forward, DHS will continue to monitor the ongoing national emergency and provide updated guidance as needed. Employers are required to monitor the DHS and ICE websites for additional updates regarding when the extensions will be terminated and normal operations will resume.
Under the March 2020 guidance, employers must continue to inspect the Form I-9, Section 2 documents remotely—over a video link, fax, or email, for example—and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents within three business days to complete Section 2.
If you do this, enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in Section 2 “additional information” field after normal operations resume and you have done a physical inspection. Keep in mind that the documents must be physically inspected within three days after normal operations resume. Once the documents are inspected, add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to the Section 2 “additional information” field on the Form I-9 or to Section 3 as appropriate.