How to Avoid the Massive I-9 Fines
Due to COVID-19, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced an additional 60 days extension to the flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9.
However, this only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely.
Form I-9 must be filled out correctly, but off-site employees struggle to complete it without the help of HR.
What Are the Correct Steps?
- New hires must complete and sign Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than their first day of hire.
- Employers must complete and sign section 2 of Form I-9 within 3 days of the new hire’s start date.
- The employer or an employer’s representative must inspect and sign a new hire’s acceptable identity and employment authorization documents from list A, or a combination of identity and employment authorization documents from list B and C.
- Note: Employers are prohibited from requesting specific documents from the new hire to establish identity or work authorization.
For those who E-verify, a new case must be open within the same 3 days.
Tips for Complying with I-9 Requirements
- When HR cannot physically inspect a new hire’s documents, you can assign someone else to be the Section 2 Completer, such as:
- On-Site Representative within Your Organization
- Third-Party Agents
- Notary Publics
- Develop a network of Completers in key cities, for those working remotely. Make sure all Completers understand the specific needs of Form I-9 and provide training, if necessary.
- Form I-9 for remote hires can take extra time. Be prepared and start the process promptly to make sure you meet the three-day rule for completion and for E-Verify case creation.
- Have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) guide for Form I-9 completion. Include content for remote situations with simple instructions for the new hire and for completers.
- Going Digital can:
- Integrate with automated onboarding and talent management systems.
- Provide access 24/7 to the right people at the right time.
- Capture verified signatures.
- Offer document capture, storage, and retention.
- Create a detailed audit trail.
Form I-9 seems easy, but many businesses make minor mistakes that can add up to major fines. An audit by ICE can occur with as little as 72 hours’ notice to present your I-9 Forms.
The new form I-9 fines will be effective for penalties assessed after June 17, 2020. Violations that occurred after November 2015 will have assessed penalties ranging from $234 – $2,332 for violations.
Employers can avoid big fines by developing a comprehensive I-9 Compliance Program, which should include training, self-audits and an investigation-day action plan.
If you have any questions regarding I-9 Compliance Program, please, contact a MEND representative here.
We are here for you and your business!