Poor documentation can cost you $1000 per worker and knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant can result in a $10,000 per worker fine. It’s not enough to properly execute a Form I-9 for every employee – you must also satisfy several record keeping requirements to stay on the right side of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Basic Retention Requirements
Your primary obligation is to keep an I-9 on file for every current employee. You also must retain the forms for all former employees for 3 years after their hire date or 1 year after termination – whichever is later. Keep I-9s for current employees, in alphabetical order, in one place; maintain I-9’s for terminated employees in chronological order, in a separate place. The USCIS recommends that employers keep the forms separate from personnel records to facilitate an inspection request. You can hold the forms at the work-site, headquarters, or offsite storage location as long as you can transmit them to the worksite within 3 days of an inspection request.
Electronic Storage Requirements
You may use an electronic system to store the forms but that system must:
- Include controls to ensure the integrity, accuracy and reliability of the electronic storage system.
- Include controls to detect and prevent unauthorized or accidental creation of, addition to, alternation of, deletion of, or deterioration of an electronically stored I-9s including the electronic signature, if used.
- Include controls to ensure an audit trail so that ANY alternation of change to the form since its creation is electronically stored and can be accessed by an appropriate government agency inspecting the forms.
- Include an inspection and quality assurance program that regularly evaluates the electronic generation or storage system and periodically checks electronically stored I-9s including the electronic signature if used.
- Include a detailed index of all data so a particular record can be accessed immediately.
- Produce a high degree of legibility and readability when displayed on a video display terminal or reproduced on paper.
- If you complete or retain I-9s electronically, you must maintain and make available on request documentation of the business processes that: Create the retained Forms I-9; Modify and maintain the retained Forms I-9; and Establish the forms authenticity and integrity, such as audit trails.
For I-9 Audits please contact HR Advisors.