Currently, all U. S. employers are required to complete USCIS Form I-9 to verify the employment eligibility of all new hires. This verification must be completed within three days of hire. The process, which involves verifying the employee's identity and work authorization, is accomplished using Form I-9. Beginning May 7, 2013, all employers must use the new version of the Form I-9, which is available for download from www.uscis.gov. Additionally, the Firm recommends that employers thoroughly review USCIS' publication, the Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form)(M-274 (Revised 4/30/2013)). Employers will find this is a useful tool.
On its face, the form I-9 is simple; yet, it is complex in its application and in USCIS' increasing enforcement of I-9 compliance. Thus, it is especially important for employers to ensure that they follow best practices in their I-9 verification process. Is the I-9 being completed timely and correctly? Was the employee's identity and work authorization verified properly? Should the employer keep copies of the employee's documents, and if yes, for how long should it retain them? These are deceptively simple questions, but they all determine whether or not the employer has complied with I-9 requirements.
The failure to comply with I-9 requirements fully potentially increases the company's risk and liability significantly depending on whether the noncompliance is technical, procedural or substantive. Additionally, a knowing violation may result in higher fines, including potential criminal liability. This firm believes that prevention is a better policy with immigration compliance. The firm, therefore, strongly advises its clients to conduct regular internal audits so it can catch on with compliance and to install and execute best practices so compliance is ongoing.
If you have any questions relating to I-9 compliance, we invite you to contact the Paruthipattu Law Firm for guidance.