This guest blog is by Brian Fancher, Director of Best Practices at Tracker Corp.
While at first glance the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9) may appear to be a harmless formality for onboarding new employees, most HR professionals nowadays aren’t fooled. If you follow the HR compliance landscape, then you know that the I-9 matters. Arguably, it’s one of the most costly and complicated one page forms in the universe. After all, the government publishes a 69 page manual and maintains an extensive website in order to instruct the masses on how to complete it correctly.
And why does completing an I-9 correctly matter? Well, the bottom line is that I-9s that contain errors or are missing or incomplete can affect an organization's bottom line. Instead of the high-profile immigration raids of years past, government officials have been focusing less on rounding up undocumented workers and more on targeting unscrupulous employers through the use of Form I-9 audits and investigations of their hiring practices. This shift in I-9 enforcement strategy is what people are calling the Obama administration’s “quiet immigration raid” policy. And regardless of how quiet it is, I-9 audits and fines are on the rise.
According to recent testimony from Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, since Fiscal Year 2009, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICS), the arm of DHS that oversees I-9 compliance, has “audited more than 6,000 employers, debarred 441 companies and individuals, and imposed more than $76 million in financial sanctions—more than the total amount of audits and debarments during the entire previous administration.” Last year alone, ICE conducted I-9 audits on over 2,740 employers and imposed an average fine of $110,000, up to $1100 per form in error. These are impressive numbers, indeed.
When you add these I-9 challenges to the ever expanding state and federally mandated E-Verify requirements, employers start to realize they need a serious tool to help manage the employment verification process. That’s where software can really help.
A good software solution will provide a mistake-proof way to comply with Form I-9 employment eligibility verification and E-Verify regulations. Of course, when selecting a software provider, you will want to choose a solution that enables the paperless preparation, signing, management, auditing and virtual storage of all your Form I-9 records. Some Form I-9 management systems, including Tracker I-9™, offer integration options across systems, including E-Verify, allowing employers to submit information about new hires seamlessly, securely, and with confidence in real time. Further, if you leverage an onboarding solution to manage new hires, make sure the vendor can partner with Form I-9 management systems.
Most vendors out there can deliver on these basic requirements, so consider a provider who goes above and beyond the basics. Look for intuitive, personalizable dashboard interfaces that offer one-click access to daily to-do items, regulatory updates, and insightful features--including best practice videos. Your I-9/E-Verify software should make error-free easy by:
- Instantly checking errors and ensuring no missed or invalid data
- Automatically alerting to deadlines (signatures, re-verification, tentative non-confirmations (TNCs), timely purging and more)
- Integrating data from your employee records systems, to pre-fill I-9s and speed a paperless transition
- Preventing discriminatory over-documentation in Section 2 by automatically showing only the ID docs applicable to status
- Automating the E-Verify process, with configurable options per worksite
- Generating easily-personalized reports that improve management and simplify audits
- Making remote hiring easy and secure, with notary-faxable technology that integrates with the electronic I-9 system Providing an intuitive user-friendly interface, ensuring I-9 managers complete the process correctly and consistently
If your organization is looking to help keep track of all the I-9 documents, E-Verify deadlines, and the ever changing I-9 compliance landscape, you will want to strongly consider leveraging technology to implement a trustworthy electronic I-9 and E-Verify management solution. There are so many advantages to be gained, going electronic makes perfect sense, now more than ever.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog does not constitute direct legal advice and is designed for informational purposes only. Information provided through this website should never replace the need for involving informed counsel on your employment and immigration issues.