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Your Company Needs an I-9 Compliance Plan - Sooner, Rather than Later

November 2012

By: Ryan M. Helgeson, Esq.

All employers in the United States must complete an employment verification procedure for each of their employees at the time of hire. This verification is accomplished through timely and accurate completion of Form I-9.

Your business should maintain a standard, written I-9 compliance plan to be followed by all managers with hiring authority. An I-9 compliance policy is important because an employer is most likely to encounter problems when it is inconsistent in conducting employment verification procedures. Establishing a uniform, written policy is the best guarantee that your company will maintain control over its hiring process to avoid unlawful conduct.

The most important point to remember in conducting employment verification procedures is to be absolutely uniform with regard to every new hire. Each applicant and new hire must be treated exactly the same way, every time. An I-9 compliance policy will help you ensure that your business follows this rule.

Advantages of Establishing an I-9 Compliance Policy:

  • A central company policy is more likely to assure that all hiring throughout the company is handled correctly and according to immigration law requirements;
  • A uniform compliance policy makes your business less susceptible to charges of discrimination and establishes a strong basis for you to take disciplinary action against employees who violate immigration laws (e.g. by providing false work authorization documents);
  • Even if some mistakes are made in the hiring process, an I-9 compliance policy demonstrates your business' good faith efforts and may mitigate any penalties assessed by I.C.E.;
  • A standard policy reduces the likelihood of mistakes and reduces the possibility that your human resource department will act in a discriminatory manner.

Immigration violations can be costly for your business. A written I-9 compliance plan that comports with immigration law obligations can protect your company from fines and other penalties that result from I-9 violations.

If your business is considering creating an I-9 Compliance Plan, consultation with an immigration attorney is recommended to understand all of the details and requirements of the process. If you have questions regarding I-9 Compliance or any other employment immigration question, please contact Attorney Ryan Helgeson at 630.377.1554 or at [email protected].