ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) announced on March 31 that temporary I-9 compliance flexibility will continue until May 31, 2021. The temporary employee guidance flexibility policy was originally issued in March 2020 to allow employers who are following social distancing and shelter in place orders due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) to temporarily review an employee’s federally mandated I-9 Compliance 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.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) was designed to verify the identity and employment eligibility of employees in the United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforces IRCA to ensure that all employers are abiding by the law. Given the criminal and civil sanctions that violators may be punished with, it is essential for employers to adhere to the IRCA carefully.
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 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 I-9 compliance 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 630-912-0322.