As an employer, it is your responsibility to make sure that everyone you employ is able to legally work in the United States. If you stay on top of collecting and filing I-9s for all of your employees, you will be able to make it through an immigration audit without any problems.
Have A Written Policy Against Fraud In Place
The first thing you need to do is have a written policy against fraud in place. Make sure that every employee you hire signs a document that states that they understand they will be terminated if you, the employer, finds out that they lied in any way on their application. This way, if you later find any of their I-9 documents were not real, you have a legal right to terminate their employment.
Train One Employee To Be In Charge Of I-9s For Your Business
It is easy to pass new employee paperwork off on whoever is available at the moment. However, the best way to ensure that all your I-9s contain the correct documents is to train one individual to be in charge of processing I-9s for your business.
Make sure whomever you choose is provided with the training they need to learn how to identify all the supporting documents that an I-9 requires. Require all new employees to bring in the original documents for the I-9. Do not accept photocopies. It will be easier for whom ever you train to spot a fake when they are looking at the original instead of a copy. Make sure that the employee responsible for I-9's only accepts originals to examine and makes all of their own copies of the documents, front and back, for your business records.
Keep A File For Each Employee That Contains Only Their I-9 Documents
Make sure you keep a file for each employee that only contains their I-9s and supporting documents. That way, if you are given 72 hours by immigration to produce I-9s for all of your employees, it will only take you a few minutes to gather the documents together.
You can keep a duplicate of each employee's I-9 in their personnel file. However, if you are audited by immigration, make sure you only turn over the I-9 files. Your employee's personnel files can contain privileged information that immigration does not have the power to ask for.
Immigration attorneys like Carmen DiAmore-Siah Attorney At Law work to ensure that immigrants work legally in the United States, but it's still your responsibility to establish they can legally work for you. Follow these tips to streamline your I-9 process and avoid legal ramifications.