Form I-9 Compliance for Employee Onboarding

Everything you wanted to know about Form I-9

It’s probably old hat for you HR veterans out there (you know who you are!), but many Click Boarding users have questions about Form I-9. This especially rings true if you’re beginning your HR career at a large enterprise organization. So if you just left that last HR meeting feeling dazed and confused about Form I-9, don’t stress! We’re here to help. Let’s review why Form I-9 is an integral and mandatory part of the employment process.

What is Form I-9 compliance?

When the Immigration and Reform and Control Act of 1986 was passed, employers were made responsible for the proper completion of Form I-9. The form verified the identity and employment authorization for every person an organization hired for employment in the United States.

Who is required to complete the form?

Form I-9 must be completed by both employees and employers (or authorized employer representatives), and employees must attest to employment authorization. In addition, employees must present their employer with documents proving identity and employment authorization.

How is Form I-9 used in employee onboarding?

During the onboarding process, a new hire completes a variety of paperwork, including Form I-9. Once a new hire completes all the necessary forms, employers are required to retain the original Form I-9s for a period of three years after a candidate is hired. If this manual approach sounds a bit clunky to you, that’s because it is.

On the contrary, the Click Boarding platform delivers a mobile-first, digital experience that completely eliminates boring, tedious paperwork. Our paperless, guided process engages employees throughout the entire employee journey lifecycle, simplifies the HR process and drives a 50% boost in retention.

What happens if Form I-9 isn’t properly filled out?

Incomplete I-9 forms can translate into costly fines for employers, ranging from $220 to $2,191 per Form I-9 in instances where verification was improper or omitted.

It’s interesting to note that over the past several years, the volume of I-9 audits performed has increased at a significant rate. That’s why it’s essential that you ensure all your Form I-9s are being completed accurately and on time for every new employee, including citizens and non-citizens.

What are the consequences of Form I-9 non-compliance?

The consequences will depend on why an employer’s Form I-9s are determined “not compliant.” If technical or procedural violations are discovered on Form I-9s, employers are given 10 business days to correct the errors.

When employers knowingly hire unauthorized workers, they’re required to cease and desist the illegal activity. They may also be faced with a hefty fine, future federal contracts, government benefits or even criminal prosecution. 

In May 2020, minor changes were made to the Form I-9 instructions. If employers fail to use the new form, they will face increasingly sizable annual fines of $1,360 to $5,981. The 2020 Form I-9 changes include:

  • A revised website mailing address and contact details
  • Clarity around who may act as an authorized representative on an employer’s behalf
  • Updated instructions for employers completing Section 2
  • Changes to the process for requesting paper Form I-9s and a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Privacy Notice updates

Case in point: it pays to be compliant
In 2017, the global Chinese fast-food chain Panda Express settled with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation on Form I-9 protocol. The focus of the investigation centered on what the DOJ determined as discriminatory Form I-9 practices by Panda Express during the re-verification process or a candidate’s citizenship or national origin status.

When all was said and done, Panda Express faced a whopping $400,000 fine and a strict requirement to reimburse impacted employees with the creation of a $200,000 fund.

Always be compliant. Go with Click Boarding.
Whether you’re an HR career newbie or a seasoned pro, you can depend on Click Boarding to get your Form I-9s completed correctly and compliantly. Our mobile-first platform energizes HR and new hires by blending form management, employee engagement, digital process workflows and integrated data into efficient, flexible and compliant solutions.

Contact us today and start your digital onboarding path to tomorrow!

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