With changing legislation surrounding Form I-9 compliance, organizations need to be proactive, to ensure accurate record keeping on all required documentation. This includes auditing I-9 records every few years, to ensure all information is up-to-date and forms are correctly filled out. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) has the legal right to review your organizations I-9 records at will.
Below are 4 considerations for an I-9 compliance audit:
- Fill Out All Sections Accurately: The basic information on the I-9 from should be filled out completely and accurately. This includes; dates and names on all forms. “A construction company was recently penalized $228,000 for multiple compliance violations…submitting I-9 forms for dozens of employees with incomplete Sections 1 and 2.”[i] Take the time to review instructions and ensure that the employee has filled out the form properly. If not, correct the issues.
- Employee Roster Information Updates: Ensure you have an accurate headcount list of current and past employees, prior to beginning an audit. Remember, employees hired after November 6, 1986 must have an I-9 on file. If an employee is missing an I-9, the organization must obtain one as soon as possible.
- I-9 Documentation: “Documentation for former employees is only needed for one year after separation or three years from date of hire (whichever is later), so no need to clutter your files with unnecessary information.”[ii] Ensure that you are obtaining the required documentation from List A or List B and List C.
- Necessary Signatures: This is consistent with the requirements mentioned previously. All forms need to be signed by an employer representative and the new hire employee. This includes remote workers. The process isn’t complete until the forms are verified for accuracy and contain the proper information with signatures.
The SHRM article quoted throughout, contains other examples of companies that failed to complete accurately and sign the I-9 forms and the fines for these violations. The form contains directions for both the employer and employee. Work through the steps and ensure that the forms are accurate and up-to-date, to protect the organization from any violations and fines. If you have questions about mistakes or conducting an audit, seek guidance and be open to suggestions. Proactive audits necessary to ensure compliance, as the laws and forms continue to evolve. Remember, using the new I-9 form is required now and has been in effect as of September 18, 2017. The link to the new form and other instructional information is here: Updated Form I-9