By Christine Thelen, Trüpp.

Would you be shocked if I told you that immigration is currently a hot button issue? If you’ve had any contact with the outside world recently, your answer is sure to be a resounding no!

Unfortunately, this is not just a political debate that can be ignored. This increased attention on immigration is having a tangible impact on employers in I-9 compliance. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can audit an employer’s records at any time, regardless of whether there is cause, and there has been a significant uptick in the number of companies being audited. At the same time, increased penalties and fines have gone into effect (August 1, 2016), and an updated Form I-9 was released earlier this year, which must be used with all new hires as of September 18, 2017. Along with this new form came important changes to when and how it needs to be completed.

Now is the time to ensure your I-9 compliance is up to date and on task! We’ve developed this handy check list to assist with your company practices, policy updates, and compliance efforts.

  • Ensure employees fully complete, sign, and date Section 1 of the form no later than their first day of work. Every field must be filled in, except the email address and telephone number, which are optional. You also MUST NOT backdate forms.
  • Note at the bottom of Section 1 whether a translator helped the employee complete any portion of the form. If a translator was used, you must provide the translator’s complete information. (No field should be blank.)
  • The person completing Section 2 of this form must see the physical documents provided as proof of the right to work in the U.S., and they must see them on the employee’s first day of work.
  • Section 2 must be fully completed, signed, and dated within three business days of the employee’s first day of work. Every field should be completed, and only approved abbreviations should be used.
  • Organizations should track when an employee requires a reverified I-9 Form, and ensure these reverifications are completed on time. Section 3 should be completed on the day the reverification occurs and all fields should be filled in.
  • Organizations may or may not make a copy of documents collected as proof of right to work in the U.S. Either option is acceptable, but organizations must be consistent – either collect it from everyone or no one.
  • Establish and follow an I-9 document retention policy, including not holding on to I-9s longer than you have to. Employers must retain original I-9 forms for three years after the date of hire, or one year after the date employment ends, whichever is later.

As you can see, I-9 compliance demands perfection. Relax, Trüpp is here to help! If you’d like the peace of mind that comes from having an experienced professional review your I-9 records, polices, and practices, consider an affordable I-9 audit from Trüpp to make sure your organization can weather in ICE investigation. It all starts with a conversation!