The Ugly Truth About I-9s

May 13, 2019

Are your I-9s compliant?  What’s the story behind I-9s?

The reality is all employers must complete and retain Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for every person they hire for employment after Nov. 6, 1986, in the U.S. as long as the person works for pay or other type of payment.

Exceptions include:

  • Individuals hired on or before Nov. 6, 1986, who are continuing in their employment and have a reasonable expectation of employment at all times.
  • Individuals hired for employment in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) on or before Nov. 27, 2009.
  • Independent contractors or individuals providing labor to you if they are employed by a contractor providing contract services (for example, employee leasing or temporary agencies).
  • Individuals not physically working in the U.S.

Anyone involved in hiring new employees should be prepared for an audit as the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is ensuring that employers comply with I-9 employment eligibility verification requirements. Violations can result in severe penalties for the employer and, in the case of undocumented workers, arrest or deportation of the employee.

ICE inspections and audits have skyrocketed during the past two years, resulting in an unprecedented number of fines and arrests. Fines can range from $110 to $1,100 for errors such as not completing a form, but they increase dramatically for knowingly or continuing to employ unauthorized workers — up to $14,050 for each violation.

Some stats –

From Oct. 1, 2017 - July 20, 2018, ICE and its Homeland Security Investigations arm conducted 6,093 investigations and made 675 criminal and 984 administrative worksite-related arrests. In fiscal year 2017, businesses paid a total of $97.6 million in judicial forfeitures, fines and restitutions in addition to nearly $8 million in civil fines. The largest penalty fell on one of the largest privately-held companies in the country, Asplundh Tree Experts, Co., headquartered in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. The company pled guilty to hiring and rehiring employees it knew weren't eligible to work in the U.S. and was sentenced to pay $95 million.

These stats are scary and it’s imperative that every business is compliant with their I-9s.  So how do you maintain compliance with your I-9s?  Bizhaven – your compliance business partner can manage this process for you!

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