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I-9 Compliance Assistance

All employers in the United States have to verify the identity and eligibility of each employee to work. I-9 compliance is the process that U.S. employers use to verify the identity and employment eligibility of their employees.

To verify the information, an employer has to complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification for each worker. The primary goal of I-9 compliance is to ensure that individuals working in the U.S. are legally authorized to do so, preventing the employment of unauthorized workers.

The employer has to keep the forms for three years after hiring the worker or one year after the worker is no longer allowed to work there, whichever date is later.

Employee Categories Exempt from I-9

The I-9 requirements apply to every employer, regardless of the size or nature of the business. This includes businesses of all sizes, from small local enterprises to large corporations, for-profit and nonprofit entities, temporary employment agencies, contractors, subcontractors, etc.

While I-9 compliance is mandatory for all U.S. employers, certain employee categories are exempt from the documentation requirements. Such as:

  • Casual domestic workers, e.g. babysitters
  • Independent contractors
  • Employees hired before the implementation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) on November 6, 1986

Misclassification can lead to legal consequences. Hence, it is important to correctly determine the employment status of an employee to know if they are exempt or not.

Components of the I-9 Form and How to Complete it

The I-9 Form consists of three main sections, each serving a distinct purpose.

  • Section 1: This section captures the personal information of the employee, to be completed on or before their first day of employment. This includes name, address, date of birth, citizenship status, etc.
  • Section 2: The second section is to be completed by the employer to verify the authenticity of the employee and their eligibility to work in the United States. Employers must complete this section within three business days of the employee’s start date.
  • Section 3: The employer completes this section when there are changes to the employee’s work authorization status or when they are rehired.

Our attorneys can help to avoid penalties for completing the I-9 form wrongly.

Documents Required for I-9 Compliance

Some documents must be examined to verify that an employee is authorized to work in the U.S.

The I-9 Form includes a comprehensive list of acceptable documents that employees can present to establish their identity and employment authorization. The list is categorized into three; List A, B, and C.

  • List A includes documents that establish the identity and employment authorization of the employee. Such as the U.S. Passport or Permanent Resident Card.
  • List B comprises documents that establish identity only, like a driver’s license,
  • While List C includes documents that establish employment authorization, such as a Social Security card.

The information on the documents will be compared with the information provided by the employee in Section 1 of the I-9 Form.

When an employee’s work authorization expires, employees may need to undergo re-verification. Employers should monitor the expiration dates of documents and request for updated or new documents before expiration.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act requires companies to have I-9 forms for each worker and keep them for the right amount of time. The U.S. government can check at any time if a company is correctly filling out the forms and keeping them for as long as they should. This process is called I-9 compliance.

Penalties for I-9 Non-compliance

Failure to adhere to I-9 compliance regulations can result in significant penalties. Employers may face fines for each I-9 violation, which can vary based on the severity and frequency of the infractions. The employer can pay penalties as high as $1,100 per employee, or more in certain situations.

Grounds for penalties may include:

  • Not completing I-9 forms correctly.
  • Not keeping I-9 forms for the right amount of time.
  • Never completing the I-9 form for a worker.
  • Failure to verify employment eligibility
  • Document fraud
  • Continuing to let an unauthorized worker have a job if they know the person is unauthorized.

Criminal penalties may apply against the employers who knowingly engage in hiring unauthorized workers or engage in document fraud. Criminal charges can lead to fines or imprisonment for individuals involved in serious violations.

Regular internal audits, providing comprehensive training to employees responsible for completing I-9 forms, and staying informed about changes in immigration laws are some ways to ensure I-9 compliance. However, having an immigration attorney onboard is a very effective way to prevent non-compliance.

Contact CFUIS for I-9 Compliance Services

The Department of Homeland Security has increased the number of audits they do. They have also increased the number of criminal prosecutions of employers. It is more important than ever that you are in I-9 compliance. We can help protect you and your employees in several ways:

  • Create an I-9 compliance plan for your business and ensure it stays updated.
  • Train your staff on how to complete and verify I-9 forms.
  • Perform regular audits to identify errors.
  • Correct errors we find on your workers’ I-9 forms.
  • If you are audited, we can prepare all of the I-9 paperwork.
  • Negotiate and settle any penalties given.

You can save time and avoid costly mistakes if we help you with your I-9 compliance. Call us today at 813-298-7222, email us, fill out our contact form, or schedule an appointment.