4 Considerations for an I-9 Compliance Audit

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

[i] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/prepared-for-i9-compliance-audit-ice.aspx

[ii] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/prepared-for-i9-compliance-audit-ice.aspx

 

New Form I-9 Issued in July 2017

It seems like we just had a new Form I-9 issued in November 2016, effective in January 2017.  We did.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published an updated version of the I-9 Form on July 17, 2017.  This new form will be mandatory to verify employment eligibility on September 18, 2017.  The revised form issued on November 14, 2016 can be used through September 17, 2017.  The current storage and retention rules remain the same.  “The new version brings very subtle changes to the form’s instructions and list of acceptable documents, which were created with the theoretical goal of making the form easier to navigate,” said Davis Bae, managing partner of the Seattle office of law firm Fisher Phillips. “Besides changing the wording on the form in almost imperceptible ways, the new version renumbers all List C documents except the Social Security card, and streamlines the certification process for certain foreign nationals.”[i]

Download the new here: Form I-9: July 17, 2017

Below are six, common I-9 Questions:

  1. Returning Summer Employees: If you rehire an employee within three years of the date that a previous Form I-9 was completed, you may either complete a new Form I-9 for your employee or complete Section 3 of the previously completed Form I-9, as long as the original I-9 shows current work authorization.”[ii]
  2. Re-verify a Female Employee Upon Getting Married: There is no requirement to re-verify a female employee or any employee who has a name change, currently.  “One other interesting point about transgender employees: The “Other Names Used field in the form has been changed to Other Last Names Used” to avoid potential discrimination issues and provide increased privacy for transgender individuals and others who have changed their first names.”[iii]
  3. Scan I-9s and Store Electronically: Due to the complexity of the rules and regulations regarding electronic scanning of I-9 Forms, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) recommends using a qualified vendor to store I-9 Forms electronically.
  4. End of Retention Period: Shred I-9 Forms at the end of the required retention period.  However, verify the retention period requirements prior to shredding any documents.
  5. Completion Date of I-9 Form: The form can be completed as soon as you offer an individual the job and the job is accepted. It is best practice to have the offer and acceptance in writing.  Remind employees to bring the required documentation on the first day of work, if you do not require completion prior to the first day.
  6. Expired Driver’s License with a Receipt for Extension:  This is not legal.  “You may accept a receipt for a driver’s license that was requested to replace a license that was lost, stolen or damaged.”[iv]

We have seen multiple revisions to the I-9 Form over the past 10-months.  Remember to use the correct form on the dates required.  Switching the form now will save you time in September 2017.  Review the latest identification requirements and know what is acceptable when you are filling out the form.  Remember to fill out the form completely and ensure that the employee fills in their sections completely, signs and dates.  If you are confused seek guidance, I-9 Forms have grown in complexity and length since 1986.

 

 

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[i] https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/Pages/USCIS-Issues-Revised-New-Form-I9.aspx

[ii] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/tough-i-9-issues.aspx

[iii] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/tough-i-9-issues.aspx

[iv] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/tough-i-9-issues.aspx