ICE announces audits, review Form I-9 best practices
Last week U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a bold audit initiative as a part of the agency’s stepped-up enforcement of employment and immigration laws. This is a shift in strategy for the Obama administration putting the spotlight on employers rather than employees. ICE issued Notices of Inspection to 652 businesses nationwide to alert employers that ICE will be inspecting their hiring records. Two of these companies have already been fined due to improper documentation; American Apparel - $150,000 and Krispy Kreme - $40,000.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires employers to verify that all new employees are eligible to work in the U.S. using the employment eligibility verification form (Form I-9). Neglecting to fill out forms or filling out I-9 forms incorrectly can result in fines of up to $1,100 for every incorrect form.
Knowing how to fill out new-hire forms correctly and the rules on how long you must retain those documents will help protect your business in the event of an ICE audit.
Anyone in your organization involved in the hiring process should be trained on the correct way to complete I-9 forms and federal recordkeeping requirements. Training should cover Form I-9 best practices, including, but not limited to:
- How to properly complete an I-9 form at the time you hire a new employee. Employees must present identity and work authorization documents within three days of the date of hire.
- Expired documents as proof of identification or work eligibility are not acceptable. Review the list of documents that fall under List A of the List of Acceptable Documents.
- The importance of keeping I-9 forms separate from employee personnel forms.
- The benefits of using an electronic storage database for I-9 retention
- To periodically review current I-9 forms to identify employees who need to update their work eligibility status.
- Businesses must retain I-9 forms for the duration of a worker’s employment, plus one year, or for a minimum of three years from the date of hire, whichever is longer.
To learn more about I-9 training opportunities for your company see www.I9Helpcenter.com.