Archive for the ‘employment eligibility’ Tag

Limit your Liability: I-9 Compliance Best Practices

Employers, are you in compliance with I-9 requirements? In the 2011 fiscal year, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a record 2,393 notices of inspections (for federal Form I-9 and supporting documents), a more than 375% increase from FY2008. Additionally, during FY2011, ICE issued 331 final administrative fine orders, totaling more than $9 million in fines levied on employers (compared to 18 final orders in FY2008, totaling $675,000 in fines).

The increase in investigations and fines demonstrates ICE’s intent to ensure employers comply with I-9 requirements. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, all employers must complete and retain a Form I-9 for each individual employed in the United States. Form I-9 must be completed within three days of the new hire’s employment. On the I-9 form, employers must confirm the employee’s employment eligibility and authenticity of  the employee’s identification document(s). If there is not an employer representative available to review the authenticity of the original documents and to sign the I-9 form, these documents must be presented to a Public Notary  for certification.

Best Practices

Companies should assess the current state of I-9 documents to ensure compliance and minimize exposure to audits.

1. Conduct a voluntary audit of I-9 forms currently on file – By reviewing I-9s for errors, corrections can be made legally. The audit can bring common errors to light so that training can be implemented to correct these issues.

2. Prepare an I-9 process – Develop a written policy and process to maintain I-9 compliance. The USCIS I-9 Employer Handbook provides great resources  including information on:

  • The appropriate action to take when an employee fails to present documentation in a timely manner.
  • What to do when the Company is notified of a Social Security mismatch.

3.  Appoint a final reviewer – Assign one person to view I-9 documents before they are processed. If there is an error, the person who signed off on Section 2 of the form must correct the mistakes or provide any missing information or documentation.

4. Make note of common errors – According to ICE, the most common errors found during an I-9 audit are:

  • A Form I-9 was not completed for an employee;
  • Employee citizenship or employment eligibility attestation is not completed in Section 1 of the form;
  • Employee’s signature is missing in Section 1 of the form;
  • Employer or its authorized representative has failed to complete Section 2 of the form verifying employment and identity documents; and
  • Employer’s signature is missing in Section 2 of the form.