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It’s Always a Good Time for an I-9 Audit

September 11, 2016

At deverus, we’ve seen a lot of concerns for employers when it comes to a governmental audit of their I-9 forms. We want you to avoid as many fines and problems as possible. To help, we’ve crafted this internal Form I-9 audit program for all of your employees.

Do you know why most employers keep solid I-9 records? It’s because Immigration and Customs Enforcement has built a national culture of compliance with a large amount of inspections and external I-9 audits each year. ICE audits grew 1100% – from 250 annually to more than 3,000 annually – and we’ve seen the number of fines typically rise each year. Unfortunately, every error has a significant fine attached.

Before we show you how to perform an audit, we’d like to point out some of the key reasons that you need to perform an internal audit. These internal reviews protect you by:

• Preparing yourself in advance of an ICE or OFCCP audit to avoid fines and save yourself potentially thousands of dollars.
• Avoiding legal costs involved with defending against I-9 fines and employee claims.
• By giving employees time to correct mistakes and verify the corrections.
• Negotiating with workers’ unions and have them present to prevent claims of bias or unfair practices.
• Avoiding immigration-related discrimination claims.

We recommend you use the checklist below at least once a year. If you have a seasonal business, it’s best to perform this audit about a month after your big hiring influx.

Perform Your Audit

Knowing that it’s a good time to do an I-9 audit is just the start. Here’s the checklist that you need for your next audit:

Your I-9 Checklist

Paperwork You Need
• List of all current employees hired after Nov. 1, 1986.
• List of employees terminated during the past 3 years.
• List of employees whose contracts expired and were not renewed during the past 3 years.
• Form I-9 for every employee on your lists.
• Hiring dates for employees on your lists.

Section 1 Review

Verify that each I-9 has the following filled out:
• Name
• Address
• Maiden Name
• Date of Birth

• Ensure that the Social Security number is provided for all employees involved with the E-Verify program. (Optional for other employees.)
• Verify each employee properly noted their citizenship or immigration status.

Check that each employee signed and dated the I-9.
• Verify the date against hiring information on file.
• (Optional) Verify the proper information is provided in Section 1 for any employee who used a translator or preparer to fill out the form.

Section 2 Review

• Check signing date against hiring documents to make sure form was completed within three days of employment start.
• Check: 1 document from List A is listed and completed; or 1 document from List B and 1 from List C are listed and completed.
• Verify that each provided document is listed under the correct section.
• Ensure all of the document is filled out by employee.
• Check business name and address are provided.

Review any photocopies of documents.
• Photocopies must be readable and attached to the proper I-9.
• If you keep photocopies, they must be made available for all I-9s.

Section 3 Review

• Make sure this section is complete if an employee was rehired or if the employee’s work authorization expired.

I-9 Forms with Errors

Minor errors can be corrected on the form itself.
• Cross out the incorrect information and provide the correction nearby.
• Changes must be signed by the person making the corrections.
• Examples: A wrong business ZIP code listed or a List A document written out under List B (because only 1 List A document is needed so it will satisfy verification requirements.)

Major errors require a new Form I-9 for existing employees.
• Have the employee fill out the new form. Make sure it is properly signed.
• Attach the old I-9 to the back of the new I-9.
• For digital records, maintain both copies. If possible, use a PDF program to combine the documents into a single PDF.

Former employees whose files are incorrect or incomplete:
• Create a memo detailing the problems and provide the date when you noticed there were errors.
• In the memo list out any correct information you may know and list out what actions were taken to collect the new, proper information.
• Explain the circumstances of the error determination (such as your I-9 audit). The purpose of this is to show any governmental reviewer that you acted in good faith and collected information as soon as an error was discovered.

Create an audit list and keep it with your records.
• This should contain a list of all remedied errors.
• Also list out all errors that could not be resolved.
• (This is also used to show a good-faith effort to keep I-9 documents in proper condition).

Missing I-9s

Current Employees
• Fill out the proper Form I-9 for all employees currently without one.
• Use the current form, which expires 3/31/16.
• Make sure you list out the true hire date, not the date of your audit.
• Create a memo for each missing I-9 explaining your audit process and note when the new I-9 was created.

Former Employees
• Create a log of missing I-9 forms.
• Fill the memo with as much information about each employee as possible.
• Keep this log with your remaining forms.

Moving Forward Together

This checklist is just a piece of the deverus commitment to help you run a safe and secure business. Background checks and hiring documents should never be a cause for concern. We’ve been working hard to help protect your business for more than 17 years and we’ll be here the next 17 years to keep you safe.

Contact us today and let’s start working together for a smarter, safer workforce.

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