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- When conducting your internal I-9 form audit start off by outlining your procedure and how you plan to conduct the audit
- For Section Two of the I-9 form you’ll need to ensure one document from List A is included and completed or one document from List B and one from List C are listed and completed
- When conducting your internal audit, Section Three of the I-9 form deals with reverification which only applies if evidence of employment authorization (List A or List C document) presented in Section two expires
- The best way to correct the Form I-9 is to line through the portions of the form that contain incorrect information (preferably in a contrasting ink color), then enter the correct information, initial and date your correction
Dealing with I-9 Forms can be tricky. It’s definitely not the easiest part of your day, and it requires a lot of attention to detail. No one even wants to talk about the possibility of getting audited for your I-9 forms. But what if I told you it was actually pretty simple? In this blog, I am going to list off the six steps you need to conduct your own internal Form I-9 audit. So if you ever hear ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) knocking on your door, you’ll be ready!
Step One: Outline Your Procedure
When conducting your internal I-9 form audit start off by outlining your procedure and how you plan to conduct the audit. Your internal audit should concentrate on key problems that frequently arise during the completion of the I-9 form.
Conducting the Internal Audit – When preparing to conduct your internal audit be sure you account for the need of the following criteria:
- Unbiased – Make sure the selection of Forms I-9 for an internal audit is not based on the employee’s race or nation origin. Either audit all forms, or audit a truly random sample of forms. An organization may not selectively choose which forms to audit.
- Annual - This provides a defense against allegations of targeted internal Form I-9 auditing. Internal audit processes should mimic government compliance audit processes. This not only verifies Forms I-9 on file, but it also trains the Human Resources Department to prepare for actual government compliance audits.
- Consistent - Either keep copies of all I-9 verification documents, or none of them. If your records are not complete, then you must either obtain the missing documents, or dispose of all collected verification documents.
- Knowledgeable - Designate an “I-9 Officer” or Company Representative, responsible for knowing and applying Form I-9 rules. The authorized I-9 Officer should achieve the following:
- Become well-versed on the correct completion of the Form I-9
- Develop and enforce a compliant program
- Create and implement internal training procedures
- Conduct regular internal audits
- Have a plan of action in the event of an ICE audit
Step Two: Auditing Section One of the I-9 Form
You’ll need to make sure you’re gathering all of the information below to complete step two, auditing Section One of the I-9 form.
- Employee first and last names completed
- Maiden name or other names if it is applicable; “N/A” for “Other Names Used” if it does not apply
- Full address fields completed – No PO boxes allowed
- Date of birth in mm/dd/yyyy format
- Social Security Number (optional); Social Security Number mandatory for
- E-Verify participants
- Status is selected (not more than one)
- Lawful Permanent Resident – including alien registration number
- If employee is not a permanent resident but has authorization to work in the United States, the alien number or admission number must be included and correctly stated
- Expiration date of employment authorization is included and correctly stated
- Employee’s signature
- Date of employee’s execution of form
- Form I-9 signed on the first day of employment or the period between the job being accepted by the employee and the first day of employment
- Preparer/Translator Certification
- Signature of preparer/translator if applicable
- Name of preparer/translator correctly stated
- Address of preparer/translator correctly stated
Step Three: Auditing Section Two of the I-9 Form
For Section Two of the I-9 form you’ll need to ensure one document from List A is included and completed or one document from List B and one from List C are listed and completed.
List A (Identity and Employment Authorization)
- Appropriate document listed
- List A document title correctly stated
- List A document issuing authority correctly stated
- List A document number correctly stated
- List A document expiration date, if applicable, correctly stated
- Receipt showing application for document accepted; awaiting original to be presented within 90 days
List B (Identity)
- List B document title correctly stated
- List B document issuing authority correctly stated
- List B document number correctly stated
- List B document expiration date, if applicable, correctly stated
- Receipt showing application for document accepted; awaiting original to be presented within 90 days
List C (Employment Authorization)
- Employee’s first day of employment correctly stated (mm/dd/yyyy)
- Signature of Employer/Authorized Representative present and in correct box
- Date of certification correctly stated (mm/dd/yyyy)
- Certification signed by the third business day after the hire date
- Title of Authorized Representative correctly stated
- Last Name and First Name of Authorized Representative correctly stated
- Employer’s Business or Organization Name correctly stated
- Address of business correctly stated - No PO boxes allowed
Step Four: Auditing Section Three of the I-9 Form
When conducting your internal audit, Section Three of the I-9 form deals with reverification which only applies if evidence of employment authorization (List A or List C document) presented in Section two expires. Step four also covers what to do if you’re missing any I-9 forms.
- Do not reverify: US Citizens and Noncitizen Nationals, or Lawful Permanent
- Residents (I-551)
- If employee listed an expiration date in Section 1, employment eligibility
- reverified on or before expiration date
- Date of rehire, if applicable (mm/dd/yyyy)
- New name listed, if applicable
- Document title correctly stated
- Document number correctly stated
- Employment authorization document expiration date (mm/dd/yyyy)
- Signature of Authorized Representative present and correctly placed
- Date of company certification (mm/dd/yyyy)
- Printed name of Authorized Representative
Missing Forms I-9
- For current employees - require employee to present documentation and complete a new Form I-9 with current dates. Date of hire will be the employee’s actual date of hire, which may have been years earlier. Attach a memo to the Form I-9 explaining the discrepancy between the date of hire and the date of completion of the Form I-9. Sign and date the memo.
- For former employees - date and attach a memo to Forms I-9 for any terminated employees with missing or incorrect Form I-9 information. Retain it with other Forms I-9. Documenting this demonstrates an employer’s good faith effort to correct the forms by performing an internal self-audit.
Step Five: Addressing Form I-9 with Errors
Errors are bound to happen. Especially when you’re dealing with I-9 forms. But here’s what you do to ensure you keep on trucking!
- Easily correctable - you may do so on the form. The best way to correct the Form I-9 is to line through the portions of the form that contain incorrect information (preferably in a contrasting ink color), then enter the correct information. Initial and date your correction. Never use white correction fluid. If you have previously made changes on Forms I-9 using white correction fluid instead, USCIS recommends that you attach a note to the corrected Forms I-9 explaining what happened. Be sure to sign and date the note.
- .Not easily correctable - complete a new Form I-9.
- The old Form I-9 is attached to the new one, along with a note explaining the reason for creating a new Form I-9. Do not throw away the old form.
Step Six: Administrative Wrap Up
You’ve just completed conducting your internal I-9 Form! But you’re not completely done, yet. There are still a few administrative things you’ll need to wrap up.
- Photocopies of List 2 documents - if they exist, are attached to the Form I-9 and are readable. It is not mandatory to make photocopies (except in Colorado), but if they are made, they must be kept. If photocopies are made for one employee, they must be made for all employees.
- Employers enrolled in E-Verify must keep copies of the following documents if they are presented by the employee - US Passport or Passport Card, Permanent Resident Card (I-551), or Employment Authorization Card (I-766).
- Manual Audit Log - The list of the Forms I-9 containing errors is completed. (This is the audit log that shows you have made a good faith effort to ensure Form I-9 compliance. The log should contain three columns: employee’s name, the errors, and the actions taken to rectify the errors.)
Why You Need To Do This, Right Now
Now you’re on your way to conducting a flawless Form I-9 internal audit. But why was this so important? Recently there has been an increase in enforcement for Form I-9 audits for employers. So what exactly changed?
On January 10, 2018, early morning reports of raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed what had been assumed – worksite enforcement has been increased and employers need to take note. The continued reports of high-profile ICE raids are definitely intentional. ICE wants employers to know that they’ve increased enforcement and they want you to take this very seriously. The current administration also appears to be building upon successful tactics that were used during both the Bush and Obama eras by focusing on administrative arrests of employees and requests for Forms I-9 through a Notice of Inspection (NOI) to employers. ICE conducted 1,279 audits of I-9 forms in 2016 and that number is expected to rise dramatically under the new enforcement focus.
Sure this can be scary, but knowing how to conduct your own internal I-9 form audits can help. And the word to remember for this process is “thorough.” An internal audit should include an in-depth review of all of an organization’s Forms I-9. Considering the limited resources and time of an organization, a comprehensive review of all I-9 records may not be feasible. In this case, organizations are encouraged to review a significant and fair sample of Forms I-9 to determine where the majority of errors/omissions occur, how to correct these, and how to implement better training and policies to ensure proper completion and compliance moving forward. For more information on self-auditing guidelines see the Department of Justice publication: Guidance for Employers Conducting Internal Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 Audits.
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