2021CoronavirusForm I-9

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have announced an extension of the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance due to the COVID-19 pandemic – which were set to expire on December 31, 2021 – to April 30, 2022, according to a news release from ICE.

The extension will continue to apply guidance previously issued for employees hired on or after April 1, 2021, that work in a remote setting due to COVID-19. They are temporarily exempt from physical inspection requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) until they undertake non-remote employment.

On March 20, 2020, due to precautions implemented by employers and employees associated with COVID-19, the DHS announced that it would exercise prosecutorial discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with the 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.

The policy was implemented for 60 days and set to expire on May 19, 2020. It was extended for 30 days four times to June 19, 2020, July 19, 2020, August 19, 2020, and September 19, 2020, then extended to November 19, 2020, December 31, 2020, January 31, 2021, March 31, 2021, May 31, 2021, August 31, 2021, and December 31, 2021.

Employers should monitor the DHS and ICE websites for additional updates regarding when the extensions will be terminated and normal operations will resume. For more information about temporary policies related to COVID-19, visit www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/form-i-9-related-news/temporary-policies-related-to-covid-19.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) requires employers in the United States to complete the Form I-9 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 that is available at www.uscis.gov/i-9.

COVID-19 is a deadly respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of December 20, 2021, there are approximately 274 million global cases and 5.3 million global deaths, while the United States leads the world with approximately 50 million cases and 806,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a service offering of ClearStar, a leading provider of Human Capital Integrity℠ technology-based services specializing in background and medical screening – provides a robust Form I-9 solution so employers may compliantly verify work status. To learn more, contact ESR today.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a service offering of ClearStar – 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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