The current I-9 Form from USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) is scheduled to expire effective August 31, 2019, however, there have yet to be any new I-9 forms produced. What that means for employers is that they may continue to use the current form until further notice. However, changes will be coming, according to the USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security, and employers must be aware of the risks involved for non-compliance.
Until the new forms are available, it’s important that employers learn the proper way to collect required I-9 documents, which documents are acceptable for verification and the proper way to store the documentation.
The employers can greatly reduce risks of potential fines by preparing and conducting their own internal I-9 audits now in preparation for the form changes, as well as any potential external audits that may arise.
The first step is to ensure proper storage of all I-9 documents. Never store active or terminated employee I-9 forms in the employee files. This could easily lead to a discrimination claim and lawsuit, as well as heavy fines. The cost of non-compliance can range from $216-$2156 per employee*.
Employers and industries most often audited include construction, farming & agriculture, landscaping, etc. because of the turnover and higher number of immigrants hired in these sectors.
Some easy ways to ensure compliance with the I-9 process are as follows:
- Section 1 must only ever be completed by the employee. (Unless a translator is required. Then the employer must complete the Preparer/Translator Certification section.)
- The form may only be completed after an employment offer has been made, never before.
- The Spanish-language version of the I-9 is ONLY to be used for employees in Puerto Rico. If the employer and the employee is in the continental US, the English version must be submitted. However, the Spanish version may be used as a guide.
- Reverification and Rehires – you only need to do this after an absence of 3 years. Anything less is not required.
If you have questions about the I-9 Process, you may find more details HERE or if you’d like to complete an Internal I-9 or Employee File Audit, please contact JB Consulting Systems.