UPDATED INFORMATION: COVID-19 and I-9s, Physical Presence Requirement Waived in Certain Circumstances

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on March 20, 2020 that it will exercise discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification due to precautions being implemented by employers and employees related to physical proximity associated with COVID-19.

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 and may instead initially inspect the Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, etc.). Employers should enter “COVID-19” in the Section 2 Additional Information field.

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 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, or in section 3 for Re-verification, as applicable.

These provisions may be implemented by employers for a period of 60 days from March 20 (the date of the DHS notice) OR within 3 business days after the termination of the National Emergency, whichever comes first.

Employers who utilize this option must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee.

Please note: This provision 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.

As always, employers may continue to designate an agent or authorized representative to complete the I-9 on the employer’s behalf, as circumstances warrant.

Contact Fraser Stryker for Assistance with Employment Verification Questions

We are here to help answer any questions or talk with you about any concerns you may have regarding employment verification during this time. Call our Immigration Law attorneys at 402-341-6000.

As a friendly reminder, employers must use the new Form I-9 version (10/21/2019 edition date) starting no later than May 1, 2020.

This article has been prepared for general information purposes and (1) does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship, (2) is not intended as a solicitation, (3) is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice, and (4) is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney. Always seek professional counsel prior to taking action.

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