- Employers’ Best Practices for I-9 Compliance
- January 2, 2019 | Author: Katia Desrouleaux Bowman
- Law Firm: Taylor, Porter, Brooks & Phillips, L.L.P. - Baton Rouge Office
The Employment Eligibility Verification Form or, Form I-9 is the tool employers are required to use to verify the identity and work authorization of every employee (with some rare exceptions), regardless of citizenship. The law that requires such verification is the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), whose purpose is to thwart illegal immigration to the United States and the employment of unauthorized workers by U.S. employers. As a general rule, employers must timely complete and retain the Form I-9 for each employee, including U.S. citizens, hired on or after November 6, 1986.
Employers should heed the intricacies of the I-9 process and implement necessary measures to both attain and maintain compliance.
These individuals can lawfully work in the U.S.:
- U.S. citizens
- non-citizen nationals
- lawful permanent residents
- aliens authorized to work
* Unauthorized workers are not protected under the law.
Employers’ Best Practices for I-9 Compliance
- Have a written policy on how to handle Form I-9
- Apply your I-9 policy and practices uniformly for all employees
- Assure that your HR staff is trained in the I-9 verification process
- Contact your lawyer if you receive a Notice of Inspection (NOI)
- Conduct yearly internal audits - especially if yours is a successor company that inherited I-9 Forms from its predecessor company(ies)
- Complete Forms I-9 for your employees immediately, if you were required, but altogether failed, to do so. Better late than never!
- Use the most recent version of the Form I-9 for all verifications and re-verifications
- Do NOT erase, white-out or back-date, when making corrections to Form I-9
- Do NOT re-verify employees with a permanent right to work in the United States, including U.S. citizens and permanent residents
- Do NOT knowingly hire or continue to employ individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States
- Do NOT hire any individuals without verifying their identity and work authorization through the I-9 verification process
- Do NOT use the verification process to discriminate against individuals based on citizenship, national origin or citizenship status
- Do NOT require an employee to present more or different documents than minimally required for employment verification
- Do NOT refuse to accept original documents (from the I-9 List of Acceptable Documents) that appear on their face to be reasonably genuine and appear to relate to the employee