Most companies complete Form I-9 as part of their new hire onboarding process without really giving much thought as to why Form I-9 is being completed. Form I-9 is treated as one more item on a new hire checklist.
At Lookout Services, we believe that Form I-9 compliance is more than a “to-do.” It is a significant risk that every business should determine how to manage. The potential impact on business longevity and future profitability may be more substantial than you realize. Every business should know the risks, understand the costs, and develop I-9 compliance programs which mitigate or eliminate the risks.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few questions, you should ask:
- Do our current I-9 practices ensure Form I-9 is completed correctly?
- Do our current I-9 practices include audits to correct any errors that occur at hire?
- Do our current I-9 practices provide management with a risk assessment annually?
- If audited by the government, what is my potential fine?
- If audited by the government, how many workers might I lose?
- If audited by the government, what else might be at risk?
Are the risks created by your current practices acceptable risks?
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may levy up to $1100 for each Form I-9 with errors. Some patterns and practices of poor form completion may also lead to claims that the employer knowingly hired unauthorized workers, leading to greater fines, jail time, and business closure.
Many organizations, including federal and state agencies, require vendors to illustrate compliance with Form I-9 regulations by submitting proof of a successful Form I-9 audit to maintain their contractual relationship. Inability to meet Form I-9 requirements may disqualify your company from service.
Doing Form I-9 right gives you peace of mind that your workforce won’t disappear overnight because ICE is conducting an audit. Keeping workers in their seats is the best way to insure operations continue moving forward. Otherwise, lost production equates to lost profits, and none of us are in business to lose money.