A new wave of I-9 Notices of Inspection (NOIs) have been served by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to ensure compliance in hiring employees who are authorized to work in the U.S. Companies generally have 72 hours to respond and present Forms I-9 in response to the NOI, at which point ICE may request additional information, such as a copy of the payroll, list of current employees, Articles of Incorporation, and business licenses.
Penalties for errors, violations, or failing to produce a Form I-9 range from $110 to $1,100 per occurrence depending on the size of the business, good faith effort to comply, seriousness of violation, whether the violation involved unauthorized workers, and history of previous violations. Repeat offenders or those knowingly hiring and continuing to employ unauthorized workers can result in fines ranging from $375 to $16,000 per violation.
There are steps your company can take now to protect itself in the event of an I-9 audit.
- Audit your company's I-9 forms now to ensure they are correctly completed and signed.
- Retain I-9 forms onsite for all employees for at least three years from the date of hire or for one year after the employee is no longer employer, whichever is longer. All active employees should have a valid I-9 on file.
- Store all completed I-9 forms in one separate file away from the employee personnel data. In the event of an audit, this will make the I-9 easier to locate and protect additional protected data from being exposed.
- Nextep's PEO clients receive a monthly list of Social Security Numbers that are unverified. Respond swiftly to this notice and check the I-9 to ensure that records are not incorrectly recorded.
- Double check all I-9 forms to ensure that documentation is listed in the correct column and Section 2 is signed and dated by the worksite employer within 3 days of hire. The worksite employer should be listed as the employer on all I-9 forms.
- For any questions or if your company receives an NOI from ICE, contact Nextep's HR Department immediately at email@example.com for guidance and assistance.
For more information about ICE's I-9 Auditing procedures and details on fines, visit their website.