Form I-9: How to Avoid Common Pitfalls
We’ve all heard the stories about the government “cracking down” over I-9 and Immigration procedures. This checklist may help ensure that your processes are correct when you question jobseekers:
- Ask each jobseeker whether he or she is authorized to work in the US. Do Not Ask about Place of Birth or National Origin
- Have each new hire fill out a Form I-9 within 3 days of starting work. Be sure the identification documents are included in the lists on the back of the I-9 Form. Do they appear genuine? ACCEPT ORIGINALS only.
- If corrections are needed, attach the corrected I-9 to the previous I-9. Never Alter an I-9 already written.
- Store I-9s for current employees by year, in alphabetical order, in one place and for terminated employees, in chronological order, in a separate place.
- Keep I-9s on file at least 3 years for current employees and for at least I year after an employee has left, whichever is longer.
- If Social Security issues a “no match” letter, take no action against the employee without first going through the error checking procedures.
- Consider using programs that automate status checks, such as E-Verify.
- Train specific staff members to handle the I-9 process and let no one else do it.
- Conduct an annual I-9 or HR Compliance Audit. Have this done by a Third-Party firm or someone not involved in the day-to-day I-9 Process.