How Form I-9 Compliance Documents Can Create Challenges for Your Organization

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Penalties for non-compliance also went up in 2020 from $573 – $4,586 to $583 – $4,667 per incident.

While only made up of two pages, the Form I-9 requires careful completion, or you may face an Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) audit. Despite how straightforward the few sections of this document are, thousands of companies find themselves in such a predicament facing fines for non-compliance.

This part of the employment process is one of the more complex and challenging for HR managers across the United States. It’s not a mystery why since this simple 2-page form comes with over 100 pages of instructions! Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the Department of Homeland Security to extend its temporary flexibility in Form I-9 compliance until January 31, 2021, you may wonder how many challenges will an I-9 compliance document present to your business.

Form I-9 Compliance Document Challenges


In 2019, ICE conducted 6,456 Form I-9 inspections in efforts to crack down on companies relying on undocumented workers or those who fail to maintain compliance with federal law. Penalties for non-compliance also went up in 2020 from $573 – $4,586 to $583 – $4,667 per incident. So, what are the challenges that I-9 compliance documents create for employers and their workers that can lead to expensive audits and fines?

Failing to Use the Current Form I-9 

Did you know there are multiple versions of I-9 compliance documentation released every year? If you have thousands of employees to track or just fifty, this can be especially challenging. Depending upon your employee’s work status, they may be required to fill out a different I-9 Form than your other employees.

Increased Remote Verification Requires a Capable Representative

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers have had to designate a team member as an authorized representative for remote verification of employees. This proves risky if their representative does not thoroughly understand or have the necessary training to perform this task correctly.

Knowing How Long You Must Retain Your Form I-9 Compliance Document

How long do you have to hold onto your I-9 compliance documents? This is an often confusing area of the entire work authorization process. The United States Customs and Immigration Service makes it clear the retention period is three years from the date of hire or one year from the last date of employment, whichever is later. This step in maintaining documentation is a common source of mistakes and ICE audits.

Keeping Your Form I-9 Compliance Document Up-to-Date

Every change made to an employee’s I-9 compliance document must be recorded. This can be a challenging task throughout the year when doing so manually or through non-integrated software. Failure in doing so could result in penalties.

Failing to Keep an I-9 Audit Trail

When ICE comes knocking, an audit trail is your best evidence of I-9 compliance. Anything that affects an employee’s I-9 compliance document requires the changes being logged. When you have a thousand or more employees, this can turn into a full-time task for your HR staff. It also means your chances for errors increase if not using an automated software system.

Can a Form I-9 Compliance Document Software Be the Answer?


With the increase in the need for I-9 compliance, employers are moving towards digital solutions. But, how do you choose a service provider that best complies with regulatory law and help your organization’s success? Here are some of the guidelines that can help you in choosing the best one.

Tracking Completion of an I-9 Compliance Document

An ideal I-9 software should notify you about critical I-9 deadlines, keep you up-to-date on the latest regulations, and provide status alerts on employee progress in completion. Pre-employ offers an innovative I-9 compliance software suite that does this and more, so you never have to worry about compliance issues.

Receiving Much-Needed I-9 Compliance Document Guidance for Remote Verification

COVID-19 has forced many employers to move from traditional paper I-9 compliance documents to remote verification processes. As of November 2020, DHS extended its new rules until January 31, 2021. There is also a real possibility it will further extend, and this means you need a software suite that can automatically track these changes and apply them right away.

Automated I-9 Compliance Document Retention

This is another area where a form I-9 software suite excels compared to a manual process. DHS has strict rules on how long you must retain an I-9 compliance document. Meeting these guidelines requires many production hours from your HR manager to sort through and check all the dates.

Pre-employ uses state-of-the-art automation to not only notify you of which I-9 compliance documents need to be removed, but it keeps all of these critical documents in a centralized location for easy access and management.

Create an Audit Trail of Your I-9 activities

The I-9 compliance software should have a record of every single I-9 activity you complete as an employer. This audit trail helps you get a clear idea about these updates and guides you through an ICE audit. Pre-employ provides a technologically advanced software system that makes it possible to track all aspects of an employee’s I-9 compliance document process. Our suite also generates notifications when a specific step has been completed and can provide an audit log if ever needed by ICE or DHS.

Integrate I-9 Compliance Document Processes with E-Verify

Keeping track of I-9 compliance and E-Verify processes doesn’t have to happen separately. Help your workflow avoid bottlenecks with Pre-employ. Our software integrates with these two processes so that you can access them from your current ATS. This helps you avoid juggling multiple software, multiple notification sources, and decrease your risk of costly I-9 compliance document errors.

Pre-employ Simplifies Maintenance of I-9 Compliance Documents


Outside of receiving the necessary form I-9 compliance documentation from employees, ensuring that these forms are kept up-to-date and are accurate can be challenging. You need a compliance process that is effective and that provides a collection of tools to help you achieve it.

At Pre-employ, our state-of-the-art software gives you a centralized location to submit, store, and retrieve employee work authorization documentation. We also work with you to avoid costly I-9 compliance document penalties. We do this by providing an automated I-9 compliance and E-Verify solution that can maintain federal regulatory standards.

From electronic submission to compliant record management, contact us to learn more and get a free quote!

I-9Compliance.com is an electronic I-9 management system which enables paperless signing, management, and storage of I-9 records and related documents.

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