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April 22, 2013

Are You Ready for an I-9 Audit?

Filed under: General HR Buzz3:29 pm

Recently a revised Employment Eligibility Verification  form, commonly referred to as the I-9, was issued effective March 8, 2013.  Although a 60-day grace period was issued through May 7, 2013, it is recommended that employers begin using the new form immediately.

Along with the new form came some news indicating there has been a huge jump in I-9 audits rising from just three audits in 2004 (yes, that’s right – three!) to 500 in 2008 and 3,004 in 2012.  Any violations found from an audit fall under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) and penalties can add up quickly.

So what can you do to avoid violations and/or penalties should you be audited?

  1. Someone physically present must validate the documentation presented for validation.  This person also needs to complete Section 2.  If you have employees who work off-site or at a different location, then another resource needs to be selected such as a local law firm or a notary public.
  2. Complete the form within the designated timeframes.  The employee must complete Section 1 no later than the first day of employment, but not before accepting a job offer.  Section 2 needs to be completed within 3 business days of the employee’s first day of employment.
  3. Properly destroy of I-9 forms.  You can be assessed penalties if you do not destroy I-9″s according to the instructions.  As part of your termination checklist, you should calculate when the terminated employee’s I-9 should be shredded.  It should be the latest of either (a) three years after date of hire, or (b) one year after date of termination.

These are just a few of the targeted items for audits, but there are many more items which could create penalties for your organization.  There are more detailed instructions in the Handbook for Employers which is available on this website:  http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/m-274.pdf.  Additionally, HRN’s consultants can help with compliance issues, including audits, so please keep us in mind if you need assistance in this area.

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