Knowing that businesses and entities have to temporarily move to a remote working basis, DHS allows employees to inspect documents in Section-2 remotely (e.g., through video verification, fax or email, etc.) and to collect, inspect and maintain copies of those documents (rather than originals) until normal business operations resume. The rule will remain in place for 60 days, until May 18, 2020, or until three business days after the National Emergency has been terminated, whichever comes first. In a future announcement, this timeframe may be extended by the government, if necessary.
Things to consider while choosing the Remote Inspection Rule:
Only applicable to remotely working employers and workplaces.
This option is available on particular circumstances like, if HR is remote or inaccessible to employees, physical proximity limitations apply, or recently hired employees or existing employees are subject to quarantine or isolation.
Employers can also depend on the use of authorized representatives to complete Section-2 by acting on their behalf. Any individual may be the authorized representative. Employers must bear in mind that they remain responsible for any breaches committed by an authorized representative.
Temporary measures/changes in Form I-9 compliance:
The three-day rule still applies — employers must perform remote inspections within three business days of the start date and maintain the required documentation.
Employers should include “COVID-19” in Section 2 Additional Information field as the explanation for the delay in the physical inspection.
Employers using E-Verify are required to submit cases within three working days of the remote inspection.
When regular business operations resume, workers who are onboard remotely must appear for in-person verification within three business days.
After documents were physically checked, employees can add “documents physically examined” to the Section-2 Additional Information field or Section 3, as needed with the inspection date. When the original certifier for the physical re-examination is not available, the employer should complete and sign a new Section 2.
Employers using the remote option have to provide every employee with written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy. The responsibility of reporting that the remote option was required is on the employer.
Employees will have an option as to the documents submitted for in-person re-verification under List A, B, and C — it doesn’t have to be the same documentation that was virtually presented.
Employees with the documents that are set to expire before physical re-examination will need to include unexpired documents that will be re-verified under Section-3.
DHS also announced that from March 19, 2020, it will include an automatic 60-day extension of time for any employer that had issued a Notice of Inspection in March 2020 and had not yet responded to the audit.
OnBlick will continue to track updates from the Department of Homeland Security for any changes and will provide an update in case further guidance or a longer pause is required.