I-9 enforcement is increasing, so ensuring your forms are completed the correct way could save you a lot of time and most importantly, fines! In fact, failure to do so is about to get more expensive since the fines are increasing as of August 1, 2016.
According to the Department of Justice, the minimum fine for employing undocumented individuals will increase from $375 to $539, while the maximum will go from $3,200 to $4,313. Employers with multiple violations may face a new maximum penalty of $21,563.
The new rule also addresses paperwork violations related to I-9 verification documentation. The maximum penalty will increase from $1,100 to $2,156. Unfair immigration-related employment practices may receive a top penalty of $3,563 per charge. This new rule takes effect on August 1, 2016, but will apply to violations that took place any time after November 2, 2015.
It’s more important than ever that you have strong form I-9 procedures. On average, about half of all I-9 forms have some sort of errors. Most errors are fairly common and easily avoidable, including;
Late completion of the I-9 form. Ensure all new hires to complete Section 1 on their FIRST DAY OF WORK. This form is required within 3 days of hire date; be proactive and have the new hires complete it their first day.
-Review employee documents to make sure they are on the List of Acceptable Documents and they appear genuine.
-Using an incorrect version of the form. The newest I-9 version is dated 3-8-2013. You can access the updated version at https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-9.pdf
-No signature or incomplete document information, such as missing the date employment began, missing the name and of employer or date of employee’s execution of the form.
-White-out is not permitted. If a mistake is made, place a line through the incorrect information, place your initials next to it and provide the correct information.
-The most common error in Section 2 is failure to complete the Document Title Issuing Authority, Document Number and Expiration Date (if applicable) or placing the information on the wrong fields.
To avoid mistakes and fines during audits, below is a list of tips to help you have a strong I-9 procedure in place;
-Purge and destroy I-9s after the proper timeframe; after three years or one year after termination, whichever is longer. By keeping old I-9s, you are opening yourself up to additional liability and possible fines if you are audited.
-Do not keep I-9 forms in the employee file. This will protect you from discrimination claims. Always keep them in a separate, locked file.
-The person signing Section 2 must be the person who physically reviewed the supporting documents to ensure their accuracy per the I-9 guidelines.
-Do not ask for citizenship status or any particular document. You should not accept more documentation than is necessary or tell the employee which documents they are to provide. Always have the employee refer to the List of Acceptable Documents.
For more information, please contact the Sullivan Group HR department at 912-352-3800 and you may visit I-9 Central at http://www.uscis.gov/I-9Central.