DHS to Defer Physical Presence Requirement for Form I-9 Completion

Thoughtware Alert Published: Mar 25, 2020
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On March 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced temporary flexibility of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, review requirements for employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19. Here’s what DHS wants employers to know:

  • The provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely
  • Employers who benefit from this provision must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee. 
  • The provision may be implemented by employers for a period of 60 days from the date of the DHS notice or within three business days after the national emergency’s termination, whichever comes first.
  • In implementing the provision, employers won’t be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence
  • Employers must still inspect the Section 2 documents remotely via videoconferencing, fax, email, etc., within three business days when completing Section 2. 
  • Once normal operations resume, all employees onboarded via remote verification must report to their employer within three business days for in-person verification.  
  • Once the physical inspection takes place, the DHS advises employers to add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to the Section 2 additional information field on the Form I-9 and enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the Section 2 additional information field.

DHS also provides guidance on audits of subsequent Forms I-9 and what happens if an employer was served Notice of Inspections by the DHS during March 2020. To view the full news release, visit DHS’ website. For more information, reach out to your BKD Trusted Advisor or use the Contact Us form below.

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