A local Triangle company received a visit from an I.C.E. auditor (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) two weeks ago giving them a 24-hour notice for an I.C.E. audit.
The Accounting Manager, who also has HR responsibilities for the company, was on vacation and not returning for two more days.
The auditor granted the company a 72-hour notice for the audit so the Accounting Manager could be onsite for the audit. During that 72 hours, the company scrambled to get outside HR help to review all of their I-9 forms. It was discovered that out of the 81 employees’ I-9 forms, 73 were not completed correctly.
A full court press was on to get as many of the 73 employees into the office before the review so that each could complete a new I-9 form–a good faith effort that will hopefully be considered by the auditor when they conduct the audit, reviewing both the old/incorrect forms along with the new/corrected forms.
The company is awaiting the final results of the audit, but they already know that the fines for the 73 incomplete forms will be costly in addition to the penalties on top of the fines that the I.C.E. can invoke.
Completing the I-9
It’s important to remember that every new hire you bring onboard as an employee of the company must complete an I-9 Form on their first day of work. The employee completes the section specific to them, and the employer completes the sections specific to the employer within the first three days of the new hire’s first day of work.
So, do you know how to complete and correctly fill out the I-9 Form? If there is any mistake on the form, I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) can charge you fines up to $2k plus per form. Not completing the forms correctly and within the specific time frame can be very costly to a business.
So, how do you avoid this situation for your company? Glad you asked.
I-9 Form Completion Steps:
Every new hire should be asked to complete an I-9 form on their first day of work:
- Be sure to specifically explain what section they need to fill out.
- Double check that the employee signed the form in the correct space.
- Also check to be sure that the employee filled in the current date correctly.
- Check the Date of Birth. Often times the new hire will put the current year vs. the birth year.
While the employee is completing the I-9 form, a company representative should:
- Request the new hire’s documentation verifying eligibility to work in the U.S. The I-9 form provides a list of acceptable documents.
- Verify that the documents are current and not out of date
- Make copies of the documentation
- Return the documents to the employees
The company representative should complete the employer section during the onboarding, but no later than three days from the start date of the new hire:
- Be sure to put the correct date you are completing the document on.
- Fill in the appropriate boxes specific to the employer.
- Complete the document verification section. Double check numbers and expiration dates, and be sure to put the information in the correct column as indicated on the I-9 form.
- If you have 25 or more employees, log into the E-verify website to complete the online employment verification. Use the information from the completed I-9 form to fill out the correct boxes on the website.
- File the I-9 form in the “Active Employee I-9” Folder.
- File the I-9 form documentation copies in the “Active Employee I-9 Documentation Folder.
Ready and compliant
Congratulations! Your new hire’s I-9 form is completed correctly and filed. They are ready to start to work, and you are ready for your surprise I.C.E audit coming soon!
If you have any questions or would like to have your I-9 forms audited in advance of an I.C.E. notice, Close HR Connections is available to provide assistance.