Time to Get Serious About I-9 Compliance: Part 2
Did you know that if ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) does an inspection of your I-9s, you can be penalized even if you do not have unauthorized aliens on your workforce? The penalties can come from errors on the I-9 forms. And if you lean towards apathy where I-9s are concerned, snap out of it before you are faced with one or more penalties that are regularly imposed on companies who are less than diligent in that area of their business.
In case you did not read our HR blog from last month, the penalties can be per error, per employee! One news commentator said that your I-9 diligence should be equal to the diligence you have when dealing with your taxes. Yes, it is that important. To further this point, penalties are not just levied against the company entity: “In just one year, ICE arrested 238 corporate executives, managers, and even HR professionals.”1
The illustration below shows the first four levels of penalties (of a total of 14) taken from the Federal Register. The first three represent the first, second, and third offenses related to hiring unauthorized aliens. The fourth penalty represents paperwork violations. The remaining ten violations have to do with failure to notify and document fraud. As you can see, the penalties can become very steep, indeed.
All drama aside, I-9 forms do not have to be a burden. To help with that and as promised in Part 1 of this blog, we have provided a checklist on the last page that you may use to help you quickly get through the I-9 portion of onboarding a New Hire. We also have a companion PowerPoint presentation that goes into more detail and contains helpful links. If you are a current client, please contact us and we will provide to you at no cost.
Finally, here’s one link that may prove helpful: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/questions-and-answers
Until next month!
Carol Schoff, SHRM-CP,PHR
Director of HR & Benefits