Employers who are following social distancing and shelter in place orders due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) can temporarily review an employee’s federally mandated I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification identity and employment identity and employment authorization documents with the employee remotely by video, webcam, email, or a similar method, and postpone review in the employee’s physical presence.
On March 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced they will permit employers to have temporary remote 1-9 reviews for 60 days (until May 19, 2020) or until three business days after the termination of the COVID-19 National Emergency, whichever comes first.
This temporary remote review policy applies only to employers and workplaces operating remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak National Emergency. The physical presence document review requirement will be in effect after normal operations resume. After normal operations resume, all employees who were onboarded using remote verification must report to their employer within 3 business days for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Employers should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in ‘Section 2 Additional Information field’ once physical inspection takes place after normal operations resume.
If an employer implements a Form I-9 remote document review policy, the employer must:
1. Provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee and maintain evidence of meeting this requirement.
2. Inform employees who elected remote onboarding and telework of the requirement that the employee return, in person, with the original documents provided during the remote document review process, no later than three days from when normal operations resume.
3. When completing Form I-9, Section 2, at the time the employer resumes normal operations and conducts a physical review of the original documents the employee provided during remote verification, the employer should enter the phrase “COVID-19” in the “Additional Information” field, together with the notation “documents physically examined on” followed by the date of actual physical examination.
4. If the either one of the documents the employee originally presented during remote verification is expired when the physical review is conducted, the employer must conduct a reverification of the employee by completing Section 3 of the Form I-9.
Compliance with IRCA is mandatory whether you are hiring United States born citizens, green card holders or other foreign workers. Errors or compliance documentation issues can result in serious fines or even imprisonment. Consulting an experienced immigration lawyer to help you put employee verification processes and procedures in place can protect you against liability and penalties.
Contact the experienced I-9 immigration attorneys at Godoy Law Office in Cook County and DuPage County today to start exploring your options through a private consultation at 855-554-6369.