I-9 Audits Ongoing in Spite of New Form I-9

When USCIS finally released the revised Form I-9 in March, our readers weren’t shy in expressing how they felt about the potential impact of the revised new Form I-9 on their business practices.  In a recent poll conducted on this site, the results were quite interesting.

Business as Usual

An overwhelming majority of readers selected “business as usual” in our reader poll when responding to how the new Form I-9 would impact their organization.  But what exactly is “business as usual”?  Does this mean organizations have already implemented a smooth and efficient I-9 compliance program with trained staff members?  Or are readers just resigned to continuing in their previous ways (habits) regardless of the new form?

If it’s the former, let me congratulate your organization for getting an I-9 compliance system in place and regularly ensuring your staff members are trained in implementing the compliance program.

On the other hand, if it’s the latter, there is no shame in admitting this! (I suspect an overwhelming majority who selected this option fall into this category.)   It’s easy for organizations preoccupied with other issues to place I-9 compliance on the back burner.  For companies experiencing slower growth and hire few new employees, it’s even easier to put off implementing an I-9 compliance program altogether.

Compliance is a moving target.  So while you may be compliant today, things may change tomorrow (and vice versa.)  Taking incremental steps to achieving consistent I-9 compliance is ongoing.  If you’re reading this blog article, it’s a great start!

Need More Training

If our recent webinars on the new Form I-9 are any indication, readers are ready and eager for more training.  While the new Form I-9 remains similar to its predecessor, the changes that were made have important implications for how organizations should manage their I-9 compliance. There’s always room to learn more and improve.  Those who selected this response are well on their way to improving their organizational processes.

Time for Internal I-9 Audit

There’s nothing like changes from the government that force organizations to take a hard look at their businesses processes.

In fact, a recent investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Special Counsel of Texas-based facility-services company reflects the need for employers to be cognizant of their I-9 compliance processes.  This case resulted in a civil fine of $49,800.  The lesson learned is that “business as usual” can cost a company a steep amount in penalties.

One way to ensure your organization’s I-9 compliance is to start with conducting a methodical internal audit.  Our guest attorney bloggers have written on this topic many times in the past.  Feel free to get more information from our experts here.

Move to Electronic I-9s

The remainder of readers felt now was a good time to move to an electronic I-9 system that would allow employers to better manage their I-9 compliance, in partnership with their legal counsel.  You can read more about the benefits of transition from paper to electronic here.

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Did you have a chance to vote?  Where does your organization stand when it comes to the new Form I-9?  We’d love hear from you.  Please feel free to leave your comments below.