Is I-9 compliance Software a necessity for organizations? Absolutely!
Why? Every organization has a never-ending list of tasks to be successful, in which Form I-9 compliance stands out as the most important. Every employer hiring employees for pay should complete the Form I-9 within 3 business days from the date of hire.
Form I-9 - This 2-page document may seem as a simple form, but if not filled appropriately, ICE may knock on your door. The main objective of Form I-9 is to verify the employment eligibility of the individual. In simple words, the employee completes Section-1, the employer completes Section-2 and verifies the supporting documents. It seems simple, right? You may think what can go wrong in this? A lot.
Most HRs consider the Form I-9 as the most complex form and ensuring its compliance as the most challenging job. This 2-page form comes with 102-page instructions. Most of the organization fail to follow the norms and hence receive NOIs from ICE. Every year many organizations are liable to huge penalties, and HRs are still confused about the process to follow in staying compliant.
6,456 - Form I-9 inspections for FY 2019 conducted by Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
ICE is getting more and more vigilant about the undocumented workers and is increasing the workplace investigations for I-9 compliance failure. I-9 penalties varies from $573 to $20,130. Here are some of the challenges that impact organizations in attaining compliance:
If you are hiring an employee for pay, be it for a day, a month, or a year, you have to complete the Form I-9 within 3-days from the date of hire.
If you are a large organization of thousands of employees, it is never an easy task to keep track of all the new hires and their I-9 deadlines. This is how employers miss deadlines leading to penalties. Also, USCIS releases various versions of the Form based on the requirement. And, using the correct version of the form is the responsibility of the employer. One has to remember that completing the correct version of the form is as important as completing the form.
If completion of Form I-9 for your employees is a challenging task, what about your employees who are thousands of miles away from you. Though USCIS allows assigning an authorized representative to complete the task, the challenging aspect is finding the right person to do it. In most of the cases, employers find it hard, as the authorized representative selected may not have a clear idea of what is requested from them. This creates a lot of hassle for the employer, leading to improper verification of the remote hire.
Are you aware that you have to retain I-9s even for your terminated employees? Yes, USCIS specifies the I-9 retention period as three years from the date of hire or one year from the last date of employment, whichever is later.
If you hire an employee on 5/14/09 and terminate on 2/8/13.
1. Date of hire: 5/14/09
A. Adding three years to the date of hire: 5/14/12
2. Date of termination: 6/8/13
B. Adding one year to the date of termination: 6/8/14
3. Which date is later; A or B? Date B is later.
So, you have to retain I-9 till 6/8/14
But, retaining stacks and stacks of forms and increasing the chances of missing a form doesn't seem like an ideal way of doing it, right? What if an ICE agent requests the form of one particular employee, and you fail to find it? Be prepared to lose too many dollars from the pocket.
Is there a change in one of your employee's work authorization? Is your employee working under a new project?
Have you updated the Form I-9 with the work authorization changes?
Remember, every change in employee's work authorization should be recorded in Form I-9. Making the update for many employees is a challenging task, but failure in doing so would result in penalties.
Have you completed an employee's Form I-9? Are you maintaining the track of all HR activities?
Whatever may be the activity, you have to keep a record of it. ICE agent may request for the I-9 audit trail during an inspection. But recording every activity is a huge challenge, especially if you are an organization of thousands of employees.
Overwhelming, aren't they? Many employers may fail to comply these norms, and it would be too late to correct these errors when an ICE agent knocks on your office. So, employers are now looking for an I-9 software that can be the solution for the I-9 compliance challenges.
With the increase in the need for I-9 compliance, employers are moving towards digital solutions. But, how to choose the one that can best comply with the regulations and help your organization's success? Here are some of the guidelines that can help you in choosing the best one.
An ideal I-9 software has to notify you about the deadlines thereby, reminding you about I-9 completion within the 3-day rule. This way, you will never miss a deadline and can avoid penalties.
The main objective of any I-9 software, is the ability to guide employers in supporting document verification of remote hires. Whatever solution you prefer, it should guide you in completing I-9s for remote hires. It should provide you the feasibility to assign authorized representatives for supporting document verification of remote hires.
As we have discussed earlier, one other major challenge employers are facing is regarding the retention of Form I-9s. The I-9 software you choose must retain all the Form I-9s in the proper format, making them readily accessible during audits.
The I-9 compliance software should have a record of every single I-9 activity you complete as an employer. This audit trail helps you in having a clear idea about the updates and also guides you through an ICE audit.
Reverification of employment eligibility is the ideal way to ensure I-9 compliance. What is the best way to do it than completing E-Verify? Yes, the software that integrates with E-verify is an ideal choice to assure I-9 compliance.
OnBlick is a pioneer in HR and Immigration compliance. It is an I-9 compliance software that aims at guiding employers in making their organizations I-9 compliant. Its easy-to-use processes guide employers in completing Form I-9s of all your employees along with remote hires. Not just that, this I-9 software retains the I-9s of all your employees according to the USCIS guidelines on the retention period.
It even tracks and maintains the audit trail for all the I-9 activities, thereby preparing you for an ICE audit. Reach out to OnBlick and know more about I-9 compliance.