The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will defer the requirements for employers to review Form I-9 documents in-person with new employees. The change applies to employers and workplaces that are operating completely remotely, so be sure to update your HR processes to be compliant.
"Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee's identity and employment authorization documents in the employee's physical presence," DHS said.
The physical documentation review requirements will not be excused if any employees are physically present at a work location. "Employers that avail themselves of this option must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee." We recommend consulting with an HR professional to draft these policies.
Employers must still inspect the Section 2 documents over video conference, fax, or e-mail and obtain and retain copies of the documents within three business days. Employers are instructed to enter "COVID-19" as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the additional information field in Section 2.
Once normal operations resume, all employees who were onboarded using remote verification must report to their employer within three business days for in-person verification of their identity and employment eligibility documentation. Once the documents have been physically inspected, the employer should add "documents physically examined" with the date of inspection to the Section 2 additional information field.
The provisions are in effect until May 19 or within three business days after the termination of the national emergency, whichever comes first.
For employers with nonremote workers who must still meet their obligations for verifying employment authorization, which requires an in-person examination of documents.
Additionally, a new version of the I-9 employment eligibility verification form has been issued. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) publishes a paper I-9 Form and an electronic, fillable I-9 Form. The new version of the paper form has no changes from the prior version. Get new form here.
Be sure to update your HR processes and new hire documents to be compliant with HR laws. If you are worried HR compliance and you using the proper HR documents, contact our HR consultants to discuss our audits and HR starter kits.
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