The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that it will defer the requirements for employers to review Form I-9 documents in-person with new employees, due to the COVID-19 emergency. Here are the temporary, revised requirements:
I-9 Documentation procedures to be used during COVID-19 public health emergency:
- Employers taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review a new employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. This change applies only to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely.
- The physical documentation review requirements will not be excused if any employees are physically present at a work location.
- Employers who avail themselves of this option must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy on the I-9 from for each new employee by writing in the Section 2 “Additional Information” note box, “ Physical inspection delay due to COVID-19″ as the reason for the lack of in-person verification of the documents.
- Employers must still inspect the Section 2 documents over video conference, by fax, or by e-mail.
- Employers must still obtain and retain copies of the I-9 form/documents within three business days of hire.
NEW PROCEDURES ONCE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS HAVE BEEN LIFTED:
Employers are required to re-verify I-9 Documentation of all employees hired during the emergency:
- Once normal operations resume, all new 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 the notation in the Section 2 “Additional Information” note box, “documents physically examined” and include the date of inspection.
These provisions are in effect until May 19, 2020 or within three business days after the termination of the national emergency, whichever comes first.