The How-tos of I9s

March 01, 2011  |   Posted by : Sandy Wotring  |   Blog,Hiring Practices   |   1 Comment»

Most everyone has heard of the I9 form – and most of us have had to complete one if we’ve ever worked – or at least we should have been required to complete one!  The I9 is designed to assure that an individual has the legal right to work in the US.  As a business owner/HR professional, it’s important to comply with completion of the I9 form.  If audited by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and found not in compliance, a company can incur significant fines. 

Completion of the I9 should be very thorough – the employee completes Section 1 (and the employer should check to assure it’s completed correctly, in English); the employer completes Section 2.  Section 3 is for updating and re-verifying – be certain to review the I9 directions completely to assure that you complete this section when/if necessary.

Completion of the form must occur within 3 days of hire – NOT before being hired.

I9s must be kept separate from personnel files and destroyed on a set time schedule – keep the form 3 years from date of hire or 1 year from termination – whichever is later.

An additional resource for checking new hires is to use E-verify – this system assures your new hire is able to work in the US.  It’s an extra check as back-up to the I9 – checking IDs and logging the information on the I9 is the most an employer can do, i.e., you’re not in a position to know if the IDs presented are authentic – and it’s very easy for someone to have a forged social security card, for example.

If you’re uncertain if you have an I9 on each employee, conduct an internal audit – using payroll records – to assure compliance.

Keep your company in compliance – regardless of number of employees – have an accurate I9 on each employee.

These websites may be helpful: 

http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/gc_1185221678150.shtm

http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf

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