How to Survive Your Next I-9 Audit

How to Survive Your Next I-9 Audit

You may be wondering if you’ll have an I-9 audit coming up, especially once I-9 rules return to normal. You may not have an audit, but employers that hire workers who have immigrated to the United States may be more likely to be audited. So, it’s best to be prepared by knowing what to do if your business is audited.

I-9 Audit

During an I-9 audit, federal immigration officials examine the I-9 forms that employers and employees have filled out. They want to make sure that the forms have been completed and are accurate and that the employees of an organization are authorized to work in the United States. These audits can occur due to an organization being reported by an ex-employee or just as a part of a random sample.

It is not necessary for a warrant to be obtained to audit your organization; however, you should receive a Notice of Inspection three days before the audit. This will give you time to gather the I-9 forms you need, which is good, especially if they are stored offsite. The audit may be conducted at your worksite, or you could be asked to send the documents to the officials for review.

The Information You Will Need

There is some information you will be required to have. So, if you are going to be audited, you will want to have it ready.

  • A list of all of your current employees
  • A list of any employees whose employment was terminated within the last three years 
  • Copies of the I-9 forms for both the current and terminated employees that fall within the retention requirements
  • An audit log 
  • The I-9 audit process
  • A current version of Form I-9 

Find Any Missing I-9 Forms

All employees hired by an organization on or after November 6, 1986, need to have an I-9 on file. If you find an employee that does not have an I-9, you should apologize and state that you will complete the form. Then, it is vital for you to have the employee provide you with the proper documents and for both of you to fill out the form. You can then add the forms to your audit file. If you have an employee that cannot find some necessary documentation, there are receipts that can be used as a replacement temporarily. The USCIS lists these.

Audit the Documents 

You’ll want to collect any Form I-9s of your current employees that have errors and use USCIS resources to help you correct any technical errors or missing information from sections two and three. You will need to have the employee correct any errors in section one. Major errors could necessitate filling out a new form. When you make corrections, cross out any incorrect information and write the new information in different color ink. Follow this same process for any terminated employees within the retention period. Record any errors you cannot fix in the audit log along with any corrections you make on any I-9s and store this document and keep it safe.

Electronic I-9 Management Tool

An electronic I-9 management tool can easily allow employers to complete Form I-9 consistently and securely store documents for review. This will allow your company to remain in full compliance with Department of Homeland Security requirements before the next audit.