ICE Announces Extension of Flexibility in Form I-9 Rules Due to Coronavirus

Form I-9 Updates

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On May 14, 2020, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – announced an extension of the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance that were granted earlier in 2020 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a press release from ICE.

On March 19, 2020, the DHS announced it would exercise prosecutorial discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with Form I-9 under section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) due to precautions implemented by employers and employees associated with Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This extension, as explained in the DHS guidance, was implemented for 60 days and was set to expire May 19, 2020. Due to the continued precautions related to Coronavirus (COVID-19), the DHS has extended this policy for an additional 30 days to June 19, 2020. The original guidance with eligibility requirements can be found here.

Going forward, the DHS will continue to monitor the ongoing national emergency and provide updated guidance as needed. Employers are required to monitor the DHS website and the ICE website for additional updates regarding when the extensions will be terminated, and normal operations will resume.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) requires employers in the United States to complete the ‘Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification’ for all newly-hired employees to verify their identity and their employment authorization to work in the country. Both employers and employees must complete the form.

On January 31, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – an agency overseeing lawful immigration to the United States – published a new Form I-9 with a version date of “10/21/2019” that employers were required to start using by May 1, 2020. The new Form I-9 is available at www.uscis.gov/i-9.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of May 19, 2020, there are approximately 4.8 million global cases and 319,000 global deaths, while the U.S. leads the world with approximately 1.5 million cases and 90,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – provides a robust solution that simplifies the Form I-9 process so employers may compliantly verify work status and electronically capture required information. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Form-I-9-E-Verify/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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