DHS Extends Flexible Form I-9 Rules Due to Coronavirus Until March 31, 2021

Form I-9 Updates

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will extend the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – set to expire on January 31, 2021 – until March 31, 2021, according to a news release from ICE.

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

This Form I-9 flexibility 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. The DHS extended it for 30 additional days four times to June 19, 2020, July 19, 2020, August 19, 2020, and September 19, 2020. The DHS extended the policy an additional 60 days to November 19, 2020, then to December 31, 2020, then to January 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 February 1, 2021, there are approximately 103 million global cases and 2.2 million global deaths, while the United States leads the world with approximately 26.1 million cases and 441,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider that was named the #1 background check firm by HRO Today in 2020 – provides a robust solution that simplifies the Form I-9 process so employers may compliantly verify work status. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

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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