Following the rules about Form I-9 never seems to get easier or less complicated. But sticking to a straightforward, 10-point checklist of I-9-related procedures can help.
Here’s the checklist, courtesy of the employment-law firm of Fisher & Phillips:
- Don’t let employees begin working until the I-9 form is complete. This will reduce the risk of late completion or incomplete forms. It’s also far easier from your perspective if you simply tell the employee to come back the next day with proper documents because you won’t have to create a three-day “call-up” or “tickler” file.
- Make sure your people performing verification are properly trained. Ensure they get appropriate updates.
- Conduct periodic self-audits to monitor your own compliance.
- Keep I-9 forms in a separate file — not in personnel folders.
- Make photocopies of documents so you have something to work with if you have to add information to the form later.
- Purge I-9 forms during periodic self-audits. Follow the retention rule: Three years from Date of Hire and one year from Date of Termination. When you meet both tests, throw out the form.
- Don’t seek advice from ICE or DHS. If you have questions, call an expert.
- Prepare your staff for informal/surprise inspections. Make sure they know who’s in charge of what.
- Beware of document abuse discrimination. Don’t ask employees for specific documents or more documents than you need to complete Section 2 of the form properly.
- Review the I-9 form before an employee leaves your payroll. This may be your last chance to get a signature or other necessary information.
Click here to see the Department of Homeland Security instructions for complying with I-9 regulations.