In addition to the recent updates to the Form I-9, the penalties associated with noncompliance have also changed. Fines for substantive or uncorrected technical errors now start at $230 per form and can add up quickly. That’s why it’s so important to be on the lookout for common errors.
If an organization is audited, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has the authority to issue penalties for I-9 violations. Form I-9 violations are categorized as either substantive or technical. Substantive errors are errors that cannot be corrected or may lead to hiring unauthorized workers. Examples include timeliness errors, lack of employer or employee signatures, or lack of required reverification. Technical errors are items that can be corrected like missing expiration dates or addresses.
Common mistakes found in audits that can lead to penalties include:
Timeliness – Section One must be completed by the employee on or before the first day of work. Section Two must be completed by the employer within three business days of the first day of employment and the start date must be included.
Incomplete Fields – Section Two requires that the employer transfer the employee name and the citizenship/immigration status provided by the employee in Section One. This step is commonly missed by employers.
Document Abuse – Employers cannot direct and/or require that employees present certain forms from the list of acceptable documents. Also, employers cannot reject documents that appear to be genuine and valid. In addition, employers who choose to photocopy and retain this supporting documentation must do so for all employees.
The USCIS recently updated the Form I-9, which employers need to start using as of January 31, 2020, although there is a grace period allowed for employers to use the prior version until April 30, 2020. And don’t forget, even though the Form I-9 can be filled out electronically, it must be printed to be signed.