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Key Points 
  • ICE has announced an extension of flexible Form I-9 procedures due to COVID-19
  • Flexible measures have been extended through May 31, 2021
  • The flexible measures apply only to employers operating fully remotely
  • Employers must physically inspect I-9 documents that were inspected remotely within three business days of resuming normal operations
  • Additional guidance applies for employees who were hired on April 1, 2021 or later
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced that it will extend flexible Form I-9 procedures for employers that are operating entirely remotely due to COVID-19.
What are the Changes? 
Flexible measures for I-9 procedures are now extended through May 31, 2021. The flexibilities were initially set to expire on April 1, 2021. The temporary measures were introduced in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have been extended continually since then.
The flexible measures were introduced to allow employers operating remotely due to COVID-19 to verify their employees’ Form I-9 documents virtually through email, video link, and fax. Form I-9 verification must normally be conducted in person.
As with the previously issued flexible measures, employers that inspect employees’ I-9 documents remotely must comply with inspection guidelines when normal operations resume. That includes performing a physical inspection of I-9 documents that were initially inspected remotely within three business days of resuming in-person operations.
What Should Employers and Applicants Know?
ICE has added guidance for employees hired on April 1, 2021 or later who are working entirely in a remote setting due to COVID-19. Fully remote employees are exempt from the physical inspection requirements either until they begin non-remote employment on a “regular, consistent, or predictable basis” or until the I-9 flexible measures end.
Looking Ahead 
Updates will be provided as available on the status of the temporary I-9 flexible measures.
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