For the past few years, the Department of Homeland Security has been cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants. Therefore, it’s important that your company has all of its employee paperwork in order. And, this includes having an Employment Eligibility Form (I-9) completed for all new hires.
The Form I-9 is used to verify the identity of all new hires, whether they’re a citizen or not, and prove that they’re eligible for employment in the U.S. Besides completing the form, the employee must provide you with acceptable, original documentation (no photocopies) to prove their identity and work eligibility. For a list of the acceptable forms of documentation, see page 53 in the Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9.
Note: Beginning May 7, 2013, the government issued a revised Form I-9. Make sure your company is using this new form, which carries a “03/08/13 N” notation in the bottom left corner. Use this new form for all new hires and current employees who need to be re-verified. Forms with the revision dates of 08-07-09 Y and 02/02/02 N are obsolete.
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to make sure the Form I-9 is completed properly by each employee. You can be fined if it isn’t. You must examine and verify the employee’s identity and employment eligibility documents to ensure they’re genuine and that they’re actually for the employee. (In other words, you want to make sure the documents don’t appear to be faked, to the best of your ability, or that they’re for someone else.) Expired documents are not acceptable as proof of citizenship. Also, you must record the document information on the employee’s form.
The form completion and the examination of the documents must occur within three business days of the employee’s first day of employment. An employee who fails to produce the required documentation, or a receipt of a replacement document, if it’s been lost, stolen or destroyed, within three business days, can be terminated. If an employee provides a receipt, he/she has 90 days to show you the original document.
Since the completion of the Form I-9 is a federal law, you MUST ensure its completion for all employees. It’s not optional. Even if you make photocopies of the documentation, you still need to make sure the form is completed.
Note: Certain current employees who are not U.S. citizens or noncitizen nationals will need to have their employment authorization documents re-verified on or before the document’s expiration date. For more information, see page 12 in the Handbook for Employers.
Your company must keep the employee’s completed Form I-9 on file for either three years after their date of hire or for one year after their employment is terminated, whichever is later. You also must make the form available if an authorized government official asks to inspect it.
And remember, if you need help with your company’s payroll processing, contact The Payroll Department. We’re experts in payroll because that’s all we do.
Ariane – of The Payroll Department Blog Team