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Many Changes in Immigration

By Karen Gabriel Moss, Member & Anne Grove, law clerk

In 2020, immigration has been in the news on an almost daily basis.  With so many issues facing employers, we have chosen two topics which we hope are most relevant given current events.

Completing Form I-9 Remotely Extended to September 19, 2020

The federal government requires every employee to complete an I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Form on the first day of employment.  This has become a challenge for many employers who have made the shift to conduct business virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.   In March 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued temporary guidance permitting employers to complete the Form I-9 remotely. This accommodation was extended until August 19, 2020, and has been extended again until September 19, 2020. DHS guidance allows employers to virtually review two identity documents to complete Section 2 of the I-9. However, within 3 days of return to in-person work as usual, employers will be required to physically review the new hires’ original documents and record the date that documents were physically examined due to COVID-19 physical proximity precautions in the additional information field of Section 2.

“National Interest” Exceptions to the Travel Ban

On June 22, 2020, a presidential proclamation restricting immigrant entries was extended through December 31, 2020. However, the Department of State began a phased opening of visa services for certain exceptions where immigration is in the “national interest” on July 15, 2020. National interest exceptions may be made for categories ranging from the public health sector to technical experts and senior level managers/executives that provide a substantial economic benefit to the U.S. economy.

If you have any questions regarding proper Form I-9 remote completion or you are interested in pursuing a national interest exception, please contact Karen Moss or Brad Ortman in our immigration group.