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Audits, I9’s, and Fines, Oh My!

By now you may have seen, or heard in the news, that the government is cracking down on illegal immigration. As an employer, you may wonder how, or if, that will have any impact on your business. The answer is, maybe.

Most of the time we hear I9 audits being done on bigger companies or companies that have had situations that were reported and caused the audit. However, with the increased focus on making sure the employees working for the company are here legally and have a right to work in the United States, the pressure to make sure you are compliant is more important than ever.

So how do you make sure you are compliant? First, is to do an audit of the I9’s, which are not in the personnel file, but stored separately in a locked cabinet. You should have a complete I9 for every active employee in the company. You should also establish a process in which to destroy the I9 for employees who have left, and the maximum retention time for the I9 has expired.

What does a complete I9 look like? All the boxes are complete for the sections that need to be filled out. That includes the “Other Last Names Used” box. If the box is blank, that is an incomplete I9. The instructions show that a “N/A” should be in that box, if there is nothing to fill in. Imagine, something so simple could leave you in hot water if you are part of the lucky company to be chosen for an audit.

Knowing how to do an I9 completely and how to audit those done in the past are crucial for any company. After all, with the announcement from the Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), audits are going to be increasing up to five-fold. Your chances of facing an audit may still be slim, but that is not something you want to leave up to chance.

What can you do now? Learn how to do the I9’s correctly. Audit the I9’s to make sure they were done correctly in the past. Fix those errors now to show good faith, should an audit occur. And last, but not least, make sure you store and retain them correctly.

If you are not sure where to find training and guidance, OmniaHR offers free training.

Visit and sign up for the next I9 Webinar and be on your way to making sure your I9’s is compliant.

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