Did you know approximately 70% of I-9’s contain at least one error? As immigration legislation changes and new policies are enforced, the likelihood that your company will face an I-9 audit is expected to increase. With penalties on the rise, I-9 compliance is something all business owners need to know about. Here are 3 tips to help you minimize I-9 risk and avoid costly penalties:
1. Begin Conducting Your Own I-9 Audits BEFORE You get Audited
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) won’t give much notice before an I-9 audit. However, you can reduce your risk by conducting your own regular internal audits. ICE will look favorably on any actions that you take to improve or correct mistakes, and they will factor this in as a “Show of Good Faith” when determining fines and penalties.
2. Know What to Keep on File
You are required to keep employment eligibility information on hand for all current employees. When an employee leaves or is terminated, you are required to keep their I-9 for 3 years after their date of hire, or for one year after their employment ends.
3. Educate Yourself on Common I-9 Mistakes
Some of the most common I-9 mistakes include: missing signatures, incorrect hire dates, incorrect documents used to verify employment, typos in document names, information in the wrong place, etc. It is also worth noting that employees fill in section 1, while employers fill in sections 2 and 3. It is prohibited for employers to fill in section 1 and for employees to fill in sections 2 and 3. You can be fined heavily for not following this procedure, so this is something to watch for in your internal audit.
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