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I-9 Compliance

Form I-9 Audits and Employer Sanctions
USICE has recently changed their tactics in the Form I-9 investigation process.  They have turned over Form I-9 information to local law enforcement agencies, enabling local law enforcement to conduct Grand Jury investigations into employees suspected of using fraudulent documents to gain employment.
 
Pro-active action by companies can help to avoid problems in the future.  Now is the time to make sure your Form I-9’s are current, correct, and accurately completed.  Self-audits by employers of employment eligibility documents are usually not effective in identifying all of the possible errors.  Our form can conduct this review for you and identify errors that you cannot find.  We also can advise you on the proper record retention process to ensure you have proper Forms I-9 on all of your current employees and those who were employed by you for the last three years.
 
The federal government requires all employers to verify the employment eligibility of every newly hired employee, regardless of nationality (including US citizens) or country of origin. Employer sanctions for failure to comply can be severe.  Employers must maintain a correctly completed Form I-9 for every employee they hire. Improper completion of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, failing to inspect the correct identity and work eligibility documents, and simple clerical mistakes can cost employers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
There are strict time requirements for completing the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms by both the employee and the employer. In addition, there are strict requirements regarding the retention of those forms. The USCIS M-274 is a 63 page downloadable handbook containing instructions for employers on how to complete the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.
 
If your business has received a Notice of Inspection (NOI) from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), contact our firm immediately.  Typically you will be ordered to produce a list of all current employees and their I-9 Forms.  ICE will also ask for all Forms I-9 for employees who were terminated over the past three years. Depending on the scope of the investigation, ICE might also ask for payroll records, business licenses and other documents.  Employers are given three business days to send all of the requested information to the ICE auditor.
 
The Law Offices of Barry Silberzweig, P.C. provides comprehensive services to assist companies with Form I-9 compliance, recordkeeping, and verification requirements. Our I-9 team provides expertise in all matters related to verification and anti-discrimination regulations governing the hiring and retention of employees. In addition, the firm provides internal audits and guidance to support clients in avoiding federal employer sanctions for Form I-9, Social Security, and other employment-related violations.
 
I-9 services provided by the firm include internal I-9 audits; responses to I-9 audits; form I-9 error mitigation advice; supervision of lawful correction of pre-existing errors; digitization of records including calendaring, reverification dates and retention dates; legal advice in the selection of compliant form I-9 software; advice on the implementation of E-Verify; advice regarding E-Verify completion, implementation, compliance and business impact of E-Verify Memoranda of Understanding; assistance in the resolution of Tentative Non Confirmations (TNCs) and Final Non Confirmations (FNCs); representation before E-Verify officials and ICE investigators; subpoenas and notices of inspection representation and responses; development and implementation of corporate strategies for verification and record-keeping; solutions for successfully avoiding employer sanctions for verification, anti-discrimination, and record-keeping violations; guidance for clients in distinguishing employees from independent contractors; representation in administrative proceedings before the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and training and education of staff and corporate leadership regarding state and federal legal and regulatory requirements.
 
E-Verify is an Internet-based system run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in conjunction with the Social Security Administration (SSA) that allows an employer to electronically determine the eligibility of an employee to work in the United States.  E-Verify compares the information entered on an employee’s Form I-9 with SSA and DHS records to verify the work eligibility of newly hired employees. E-Verify can help to protect an employer against hiring undocumented workers.  There is no charge for employers to use E-Verify. It is currently the best means available to determine the employment eligibility of new employees and the validity of their Social Security Numbers.

E-Verify is a voluntary program for most employers.  E-Verify is required, however, for employers with federal contracts that contain a Federal Acquisition Regulation E-Verify clause. Additionally, many states have passed legislation requiring employers to use E-Verify. Check with your state's Department of Labor for more information.
 
Department of Homeland Security E-Verify Registration and Instructions