The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on March 20 that it will ease certain requirements for employers as they attempt to manage COVID-19. The announcement came after SHRM sent a letter to the leaders of DHS, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) asking for relief for employers on COVID-19 and related I-9 verification and visa issues.
DHS will defer the requirement that employers review Form I-9 documents in person with new employees. Meanwhile, USCIS announced that it will accept all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures, including the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, for submissions dated March 21, 2020, and beyond.
SHRM has consistently advocated an efficient, modernized, employment-based immigration system, and as we react to this pandemic, we must keep that system working for the good of all. “We believe it is critical that government entities partner with the business community to address business continuity, public safety, and the economic impact of COVID-19 on employees and employers,” SHRM told the government agencies.