Anatomy of I-9 Compliance

What is Form I-9?

Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment and is required for all U.S. employers.  Every employer must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each employee, including citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers must complete the form.  On Form I-9, employees must confirm their authorization to work in the U.S.  As art of the process, employees must also present their employer with proof of both identity and work authorized status.  The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of Form I-9. The employer must examine the document(s) presented and determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and relate to the employee.  The employer then records the document information on Form I-9 as directed, retains the form, and must make it available for inspection by authorized government officers upon request.

When should you update an employee’s Form I-9?

Section 3 of Form I-9 must be updated when an employee’s employment authorization or documentation of employment authorization has expired (this process sis called reverification). In addition, Section 3 of Form I-9 can be updated when an employee 1) is rehired within three years of the date that Form I-9 was originally completed or 2) has a legal name change.

What is an I-9 audit performed by RC Immigration?

RC Immigration can assist employers in performing an I-9 audit to make sure companies are in compliance with government regulations.  An I-9 audit involves reviewing Form I-9’s on file for every current employee who performs work for the employer in the U.S.  If any Form I-9’s are missing for current employees, these must be obtained. The I-9 audit will also involve ensuring that each I-9 has been completed properly. Any I-9’s that have errors should be corrected.

Employers need to check the following information in each section of the Form I-9:

Section 1

  1. The name, maiden name, address, and date of birth.
  2. On the current Form I-9, the Social Security Number is voluntary except for employers who participate in the E-verify program.
  3. The employee must identify his or her immigration status and sign and date the form.
  4. The preparer or translator section is to be completed only if someone other than the employee completed Section 1 on behalf of the employee.

Section 2

  1. The proper document must be listed in appropriate column. For example, employers must ensure that a List B document is properly listed under List B and not under List C or List A.
  2. All required information must be entered for each document.
  3. The documents listed must satisfy the requirement to provide both proof of identity and proof of eligibility to work in the U.S.
  4. The certification section must be completed, and a representative of the company must sign and date the form.

Section 3 – Reverification

  1. This section should be completed only if the employee’s work authorization expired or if the employee has been rehired. It can also be completed if the employee had a name change, but this is not required. In most cases, Section 3 will be blank.
  2. Expired permanent resident cards and List B documents from the Form I-9 do not need to be reverified. These documents must not be expired when the I-9 is initially completed, but their subsequent expiration does not trigger the requirement to reverify the I-9.

We recommend employers create and maintain an audit log including a list of any Form I-9’s that contain errors. An audit log will demonstrate that the employer is making a good faith effort to ensure Form I-9 compliance. The log should contain three columns: employee’s name, the error(s) and the actions that were taken to rectify the error. As corrections are made and any missing Form I-9s are obtained, the employer should organize the Form I-9s and clearly document the steps taken during the audit. Employers should also retain Form I-9 audit logs and communications to employees regarding the I-9 audit process.

What are the consequences for not maintaining a valid I-9 system?

Employers who do not maintain valid Form I-9’s can be subject to civil fines and/or criminal penalties (when there is a pattern or practice of violations).  Failure to comply with I-9 regulations can also result in debarment from government contracts.

 

For any questions or to request an I-9 compliance audit, please contact info@rcimmigrationgroup.com

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