How to Avoid Unpleasant I-9 Audits
Complying with I-9 and E-Verify requirements is a hot topic at employment law conferences across the country. These days it’s nearly impossible to avoid the topic of immigration and given the current political climate, you have every reason to be concerned about your business being targeted for I-9 Audits.
How do I prevent I-9 Audits or visits from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?
While there is no way to predict or prevent a visit from ICE, your first line of defense is avoidance. In many cases, ICE raids are prompted by the results of a previous investigation. Whether it’s a Department of Labor complaint or an I-9 audit, as an employer you could be flagged for an investigation that will expose your business to unwanted scrutiny. By staying vigilant with immigration compliance and by following standard business practices associated with all applicable employment laws, you can minimize the amount of attention your organization receives.
A big compliance piece is making sure your I-9 forms are properly completed and knowing exactly what you are responsible for as the employer. First, start by ensuring that you have an I-9 for every employee on your payroll. When reviewing documents (yes, you must physically inspect the original document), you don’t have to be a document expert but you will be held accountable if you accept a document that does not appear to belong to your employee and/or that does not reasonably appear to be genuine. Reviewing documents for each and every employee within 3 days of hire (the requirement) will ensure that you do not waste time or money training an employee that you are unable to hire and will ensure that you don’t find yourself in a situation where you want/NEED to hire someone you KNOW you cannot lawfully employ.
When do I need a I-9 form?
When rehiring employees, you don’t necessarily have to complete a new I-9. Section 3 of the I-9, Re-verification and Rehires, is designed to capture updated information when an employee’s documentation of employment authorization as expired or when rehiring an employee within 3 years of the date the I-9 was originally completed. What that means you don’t necessarily need to complete a NEW I-9 each time the employee is rehired.
Finally, know your rights and prepare your workforce. There are many immigrant rights organizations that can guide you through the process and best practices. Look for a local immigration resource to build a plan that will help you protect your employees and will prepare you for a visit from ICE.
Could you use some help from a document expert to go through your employee files? Maybe you would like to talk to an HR Advisor about other employee issues. Reach out to us today. We can help.
Ready to speak with an HR Advisor to discuss an I-9 Audit?
Contact us or give us a call at 505.715.5700