DHS and ICE Extend Remote I-9 Verifications

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Nearly two months ago, we published an article discussing the potential of remote I-9 verifications becoming a permanent feature of the onboarding process. Fortunately, for employers, remote I-9 verifications have been extended. Last Tuesday, October 11, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) announced an extension of the Form I-9 flexibilities, which allow remote verification of the documentation required for Form I-9. These flexibilities are being extended until July 31, 2023. Additionally, on October 12, 2022, USCIS announced that employers should continue to use the current Form I-9 after its expiration date of October 31, 2022, until further notice. USCIS noted that the DHS will publish the new version of the Form I-9 once it becomes available.

I-9 Remote Verification Policy

This policy, which was first introduced on March 20, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, deferred (upon DHS discretion) the physical presence requirements associated with Form I-9 pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act. The original period was set to expire on May 19, 2020. However, there have been several extensions since then due to the continuation of the state of the National Emergency concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

Similar to previous extensions, the newly announced nine-month extension provides for a temporary exemption from physical inspection requirements associated with Form I-9 for exclusively remote employees hired on or after April 1, 2021. This temporary exemption is valid until the employee undertakes non-remote employment on “a regular, consistent, or predictable basis” or until the extension of the policy is terminated, whichever is earlier.

DHS and ICE have noted that employers are not precluded from beginning in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for employees hired on or after March 20, 2020.

For more information about remote I-9 verifications and compliance with the verification process, please contact us at info@mnklawyers.com.

This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between MNK Law and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.