After the reformation of many regulations in the immigration process, now Trump's administration is targeting employers through ICE raids. Trump has recently announced an increase in ICE raids, this announcement was followed by a series of Notice Of Inspections (NOI) to employers hiring immigrants.
ICE is the US Immigration & Customs Enforcement agency under the US Department of Homeland Security, with the primary mission of immigration enforcement. This agency can issue Notices Of Inspection to employers for ensuring Form I-9 compliance of all their immigrant employees. According to the law, an NOI states an arrival of ICE officer within three business days from the day the NOI is issued.
As a part of their mission, ICE is now targeting Form I-9 compliance of the organizations. During an ICE raid, the officers may ask the employer to provide the supporting documents of the employee or the payroll. Sometimes they may even request articles of Incorporation, the business licenses or the list of your current employees. As an employer, one should prepare to provide all the supporting documents during the raid. Failure of which may result in legal actions against your organization.
If an employer knowingly violates the law, they may have to face penalties ranging from $375 to $16,000. The penalties for the violations differ based on various factors like size of the business, history of previous violations, etc. Failure in providing an employee's Form I-9 during an inspection may result in fines up to $1,100 per violation.
So, it is the time to focus on ensuring the Form I-9 compliance of your organization and avoid the penalties from ICE agents.
The first and foremost important criteria in Form I-9 compliance is the completion of Form I-9 itself. Form I-9 is the Employment Eligibility Verification form which verifies the identity and employment eligibility of the individuals. Any employee or employer working in the US should complete the Form I-9 within three business days from the start date of employment.
So, make sure that every employee of your organization completes the I-9 (Section-1) within the specified time. Along with completing the Form corresponding employee must attest all the supporting documents with the form.
According to the law, an employer should physically verify all the supporting documents provided by the employee before completing the Form I-9 (section-2). However, the supporting documents attested with the Form I-9 varies based on the status of the employee. The Form I-9 documents are segregated into three Lists (A, B and C).
(i) List A documents: These documents establish both identity and employment authorization.
(ii) List B documents: These documents establish the identity of the employee.
(iii) List C documents: These documents establish employment authorization.
Any individual attesting the documents for Form I-9 can submit either one selection from List A or a combination of List B and List C. According to USCIS, here is the list of supporting documents that employers can accept from the employees to show their identity & employment authorization.
An employer should sign and retain the Form I-9 only after thoroughly examining the supporting documents of the employee.
An employer should retain the Form I-9 & documents of every employee of the organization. In fact, an employee should retain the Form I-9 for three years from the date of hire or one year after the last day of employment, whichever is later. You can store the paper or electronic versions of these Form I-9s.
One important task most employers misses out or consider not required are the audit trails. Having an audits trail of all the activities help employers in identifying & correcting any errors they might come across. This will eliminate the chances of violations and thereby reduce the penalties.
OnBlick is a SaaS-based application developed with the motive of streamlining Immigration & HR compliance. This can be an ideal solution for assuring your organization's compliance. OnBlick's timely alerts remind the employers about the completion of Form I-9 within the stipulated time.
OnBlick supports the combination of paper & electronic versions of Form I-9. This gives the employer a better chance to complete the form I-9 of those employees working in remote locations within the timeline. Electronic retention of the form and audit trails guides employers in attaining Form I-9 compliance.
With complete guidance on the I-9 process, your organization will now be prepared for any random visits or ICE raids.