10 tips for surviving an I-9 audit

In a strategic plan to step up enforcement of immigration-related employment laws, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be knocking on more doors and conducting more workplace inspections in the coming years.

While certain industries are more vulnerable to investigations (such as agriculture, construction, hospitality and food processing), all employers need to take the proper steps to protect themselves and prevent I-9 violations.

1. Store I-9 forms in separate binders (not in employee personnel files) for current employees and terminated employees.
2. Print a list of all current employees, including name and date of hire.
3. Use the correct, most up-to-date version of the I-9 form.
4. Refuse any document with a past-due expiration date when completing the I-9 form for a new hire.
5. Do not verify U.S. passports or passport cards, Permanent Resident or Resident Alien Cards, or List B Identity documents.
6. Re-verify expiring work authorization documents before they expire – and do not allow an employee to continue working after the work authorization document expires.
7. Conduct a self-audit of your I-9 forms to make sure they are complete and accurate.
8. Avoid discrimination or document abuse with your I-9 form process.
9. Accept the document and complete Section 2 of the I-9 form if the document(s) presented by the employee is on the List of Acceptable Documents, appears to be genuine and relates to the person presenting it.
10. Stand up for your rights! If ICE shows up to conduct an audit, insist on a written Notice of Inspection and your right to three business days before you share your original I-9 forms.

In addition to the mandatory Form I-9, G.Neil offers practical information and tools to help you properly complete I-9s and maintain organized, up-to-date records.

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