ICE announces extension, new employee guidance to I-9 compliance flexibility until December 31, 2021

DOWN TO THE LAST MINUTE, ICE announces another extension to new employee guidance to I-9 compliance flexibility so employers in the US may continue using the so-called “virtual verification” I-9 process for their newly hired employees and reverifications of work authorizations until December 31, 2021.

Pursuant to ICE’s revised eligibility requirements (April 2021) an employer can use the “virtual verification” process for any new hire as long as they will work exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced an extension of the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance that was initially granted last year. Due to the continued precautions related to COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will extend this policy until Dec. 31, 2021.

This extension will continue to apply the guidance previously issued for employees hired on or after April 1, 2021 and work exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions. Those employees are temporarily exempt from the physical inspection requirements associated with the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) until they undertake non-remote employment on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis, or the extension of the flexibilities related to such requirements is terminated, whichever is earlier.

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

For more information, please see the March 2020 guidance.

  • Employers with a remote workforce should consider a transition to the “Employee Designate” process, which encompasses the employee to identify a friend or family member to conduct the in-person verification on the employer’s behalf.
  • Coordinate efforts to conduct the in-person document “touch and feel” inspection of previous I-9s completed using the Virtual Verification flexibility process.

Remote Hires = No Follow Up Requirements = I-9 Compliance Solved

Achieve Remote Compliance in one easy (in person) completion process with I-9 CONNECT

Eliminate the follow up requirements associated with the virtual “flexibility” option described above. I-9 CONNECT will help to ease one of the challenges you face during the onboarding of your remote hires, employment eligibility verification and compliance. With I-9 CONNECT, it’s easy to choose between utilizing a spouse, neighbor or friend, authorized company agent, or one of 14,000 notaries through our Notary Network Partner to complete Section 2 AND Section 3 reverifications.

To learn more about how Form I-9 Compliance LLC can help your business, please contact us directly at 866.359.4949 and schedule a call to speak to one of our I-9 experts.