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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that “Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical prescence.”  The physical documentation review requirements will not be excused if any employees are physically present at a work location.  “Employers that avail themselves of this option must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee.”  This is for workplaces and employers that are operating completely remotely.

Section 2 documentation must still be inspected over video conference, fax or email.  You must obtain and retain copies of the documents within three (3) business days.  In section 2 the employer should enter “COVID-19” as the physical inspection delay reason under additional field.  Once operations resume to normal, all employees who were onboarded using this inspection delay reason must physically examine the documents in-person and add the date of the inspection and “documents physically examined” within three (3) days.  DHS’ announcement effectively  defers the in-person inspection  requirements of the I-9 process, but it does not eliminate them.