More and more, government worksite audits and restrictive E-Verify laws are making immigration compliance with employment eligibility a critical function for HR departments in companies across the United States. Employers in the United States have been under strict scrutiny since the mid-1980s to ensure they are keeping a legal workforce. When employers complete the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form for each worker hired, they are able to demonstrate they are meeting the requirements for verifying identification and eligibility for working in the United States.
Research has shown that a typical business will have errors on about 50 percent of their I-9 forms. This is a serious issue since each mistake can result in harsh penalties and could potentially cause a business to lose their license to operate. Experts in this field say they have seen an increase of over 600 percent in both random and targeted audits for I-9 data.
One expert pointed out five of the most critical and risky mistakes employers face when dealing with E-Verify and I-9 forms. (E-Verify is the electronic employment verification service provided by the government)
The Immigration and Nationality Act states that employers cannot use unfair practices with I-9 forms. This means that they cannot request different documents or more documents than what they need in order to verify a worker’s eligibility and identity. If documents appear to be genuine, they cannot be rejected. For example, employers cannot make workers who they believe to be foreign show green cards.
Improper I-9 Form Retention
Employers are required to keep their workers’ I-9 forms for the entire duration of employment. If the worker quits or is terminated, the employer must determine how long to keep the forms. The required standard is either three years from the date of hire or one year after termination, whichever is longer. The I-9 form data may be kept electronically or on paper.
Not Taking E-Verify Seriously
Experts say that employers who use E-Verify are more likely to be audited than those who do not use the system. Employers should ensure they pay attention to the E-Verify chain’s operational control and know the differences between E-Verify and I-9 requirements. Employers should also pay close attention to their own state laws, which may vary from state to state. Employers are encouraged to have a tentative non-confirmation policy. If a non-confirmation notice is received, employers must meet with the named employees and review all documentation to understand the situation.
Enter your email address to subscribe to our blog.