Ensuring All Current and Recent Employee's I-9's Are Up To Date
As an employer in the United States, you are required by law to complete and retain a Form I-9 for every employee you hire, regardless of their citizenship status. Form I-9 is used to verify an employee's identity and employment authorization. Failure to comply with the requirements of Form I-9 can result in severe fines and penalties.
With rapid DHS policy changes because of COVID-19, it can be difficult to stay up to date on all the rule changes. Conducting a Form I-9 self-audit can help you identify any potential issues and ensure compliance with federal law. A self-audit can also provide you with an indication of good-faith compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.
The primary focus of any internal audit should be on ensuring all current, and recent employees have a completed I-9.
Steps To Perform Form I-9 Self Audit
Step 1: Gather Documents
The first step in conducting a Form I-9 self-audit is to gather all of your I-9 forms. This includes forms for current and former employees. Make sure that you have a complete and accurate record for each employee, including any updates or corrections that may have been made.
Step 2: Review Each Form I-9
Once you have gathered all of your I-9 forms, review each form to ensure that it is complete and accurate. Make sure that all of the required fields are filled out, and that the information provided is correct. This includes verifying the employee's identity and employment authorization documents. If an employee has indicated temporary work authorization in Section 1, you must reverify when appropriate.
Step 3: Identify Any Errors or Omissions
During your review of each I-9 form, identify any errors or omissions that may need to be corrected. This includes missing or incomplete information, incorrect dates, or missing signatures. You should also ensure that the information provided on the Form I-9 matches the information provided by the employee and their supporting documents.
Some of the most common problems include:
✔ Missing I-9s for current employees;
✔ Incomplete personal information;
✔ Unidentified status for U.S. citizens;
✔ Lack of an employee signature;
✔ Failure to designate whether a translator was used; and
✔ An untimely completed form.
Step 4: Make Corrections
If your self-audit catches one of the above errors, you are allowed to correct only Sections 2 and 3. The employee must correct any errors or missing designations in Section 1. Make sure to note any corrections that are made and the date that they were made. At no point should employers discard or white-out mistakes on previous I-9 forms. Corrections or additions should be initiated and dated. To correct an error, employers and employees must simply draw a line, enter the correct information, and initial and date the change. If you find multiple errors, however, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends filling out a new I-9 with a memorandum or note explaining the changes and need for a new form and stapling the note and new form to the original.