I-9 and Why it is Important

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I-9 Form and your requirement as an employer to have all your employees complete one.

An I-9 Form is the Employment Eligibility Verification Form required by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to verify your employee’s identity and your employee’s eligibility to work.  All employees must complete this form and provide valid original identifications.  The documents that the employee must provide are listed on the back of the form.

Obama’s focal points for immigration reform have enhanced the I9 enforcement efforts.  The President noted that the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor are working to crack down on employers who are exploiting illegal workers.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is launching a new audit initiative by not only issuing Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to businesses nationwide but also landing in your business at any time.

Now here’s what you need to do and what could happen if you don’t.

When you discover that an I-9 Form is not on file for an employee, you must request the employee to complete an I-9 Form immediately and submit documentation as required.   The new Form should be dated current when completed, and never post-dated.

When an employee does not provide acceptable documentation or doesn’t want to complete the I9 form, the employer must terminate employment or risk being subject to penalties for “knowingly” continuing to employ an unauthorized worker if the individual is not in fact authorized to work.   Continuing to employ unauthorized workers or employees without a signed I9 on file can result in significant fines.

If an audit does happen, fines range from $110 for one single, minor or technical violation (i.e. not having the form filled out correctly) or up to $3,200 per violation for serious first offenses. A third offense can lead to a fine of up to $16,000, per offense. If you do nothing, you could fall in the $3,200 per violation for serious first offenses since you have no I9 forms.  They could even go back to all your previous employees and include them in as a per offense.   You should also know violators can lose (debarment of) current government contracts and also be barred from competing for government contracts for a year.  

Do not panic yet.   U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reasonable when a good-faith-effort and intent to do the right thing is clear.   If you recognize the problem and fix it, you’re chances of being criticized later are very minimal.

Please contact Administrative Business Resources today.  We can quickly develop a strategy for your business to get complaint and avoid fines if you are audited.  We will also train Your Managers how to verify documents and the proper way the form needs to be completed.

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