In response to that Coronavirus (COVID-19) National emergency statementThe U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced temporary changes to Form I-9, the employability review process, and enforcement measures. The changes range from remote verification to E-Verify’s perpetual response extensions.
COVID-19 Form I-9, Employability Review Social Distance
Thousands of employers in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey have temporarily switched from physical to remote work. To help these employers comply with Form I-9, the employability review requirements for new hires must be met. The DHS has temporarily suspended the requirement that employers physically review employee identification and work permit documents when completing Form I-9.
Employers who have moved their normal physical work places to remote operation can “view the documents in Form I-9 Section 2 remotely and receive, view and keep copies of the documents within three business days to complete Section 2 of Form I -9 when normal operation resumes. “Examples of remote verification are the verification of documents that are” via video link, fax or email etc. ” to be provided. This change applies until May 20, 2020 or three business days after the National Emergency Declaration ends.
If an employer chooses to implement a policy to review Form I-9 remote documents, the employer must:
- Provide each employee with written documentation of their remote onboarding and teleworking policies and provide evidence of compliance with this requirement.
- Inform those who opted for remote onboarding and telecommuting that the employee must personally return the original documents that were provided during the remote document review process no later than three days after normal operations resume.
- When completing Form I-9, Section 2, at the time when the employer resumes normal operation and physically checks the original documents that the employee provided during the remote verification, the employer should print out “COVID-19 “In the“ Additional Information ”, enter“ field ”together with the notation“ documents that have been physically examined ”, followed by the date of the actual physical examination. “
- If any of the documents that the employee originally submitted during the remote verification expired during the physical verification process, the employer must conduct an employee verification by completing Section 3 of Form I-9.
The DHS clearly stated that these temporary changes to Remote Document Review Form I-9 only apply to employers and workplaces that work remotely. When employees are physically present in a workplace, there are no exceptions are currently being implemented for personal verification of identity and employability documentation for Form I-9 … “
If an employer needs to review Form I-9 for a new employee or re-examine an existing employee who is subject to a COVID 19 quarantine or blacklist, the DHS will evaluate each employment review in one case, on a case-by-case basis, a DHS audit should take place later. Employers are reminded to make every effort to complete the review, including the appointment of a proxy, including a family member of a worker or a doctor, to complete Section 2 of Form I-9.
COVID-19 DHS Employment Immigration Enforcement
The DHS has announced no changes to measures to enforce immigration regulations against employers. Enforcement against employers continues to grow as inspection notices (NOIs) to employers requesting a review of Form I-9 and supporting records of identification and employment authorization documents continue to grow. Employers served by NOIs in March 2020 from the DHS and who have not yet responded will receive an automatic extension by 60 days from the originally required response date.
Employers are reminded that enforcement efforts will continue and full compliance with Form I-9 is essential to prevent civil and criminal penalties. If an employer is in a particular case that prevents a review, it is important to document the problem thoroughly and do a thorough review as soon as possible, but at the latest at the end of the changes to Form I-9 announced by the DHS as a result of COVID-19 National Emergency Declaration.
Extension of the E-Verify dissolution periods
The DHS has extended the employee period to resolve preliminary e-verify non-confirmations (TNCs) if the employee is unable to resolve the TNC due to the closure of the Social Security Agency (SSA) or other government or private office for the general public .
A TNC is one of several answers that the E-Verify system offers employers that are enrolled in the technology developed by DHS for employers to comply with immigration regulations. With E-Verify, Employer:
Create cases based on information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employability Review. E-Verify then electronically compares this information with records that are available to the DHS and the SSA. The employer usually receives a response within a few seconds, either confirming the employability of the worker or indicating that the worker needs to take further measures to close the case.
A TNC is the e-verify answer, in which an employee has to take further measures. The typical time frame for an employer to take further action to resolve the matter is three days. This three-day deadline for employees to respond to TNCs is automatically extended until the SSA is reopened to the general public.
According to the DHSEmployers still have to create a new e-verify case for employees within three days of being hired. When the E-Verify system returns a TNC, employees must be informed of their TNC results “as soon as possible”. Then after the employee
is informed about the TNC and decides whether measures should be taken to solve the TNC. The employee should confirm the decision in the notification of further measures and the employer should inform E-Verify of the decision of his employee. Employees who take measures to resolve a TNC are referred to the SSA and / or the DHS.
In addition, employers “must not take adverse action against an employee because the E-Verify case is in an incident status, even if the employee’s case is in an advanced incident status. ” If a response to a TNC is delayed due to COVID-19’s national emergency statement, employers should select “Other” from the TNC response list and enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the delay.
Like everything else related to COVID-19, employability verification procedures are changing rapidly. Please continue to check for updates at the Norris McLaughlin Coronavirus Thought Leadership Connection.
To learn more about how COVID-19 affects you or if you have other immigration problems, please contact [email protected] or (484) 544-0022.
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