The majority of us have filled out a Form I-9 before. To most, it’s just another form you skim through and sign without fully realizing exactly what you’re signing; the only thing on our minds is the mixture of excitement and anxiety of starting a new job. However, this form is viewed differently by HR, and they’ve got it right-- Form I-9 is not just another form you sign.
I-9 Forms seem relatively simple; they’re a way for new hires to confirm their employment eligibility by listing their contact information, address, and most importantly, their citizenship status. Unfortunately, this form isn’t as user-friendly as it could be, causing some employees to experience delayed hiring and some organizations to experience company-wide audits. We talked with Jamie A. Leone-Brooks, Compliance Manager at I-9 Advantage, about the importance of these forms, how to verify them, and why it’s time to reconsider your I-9 organization.
Since the enaction of the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986, Form I-9 has been one of the most important and time-sensitive requirements for hiring new employees. As you know, this form must be completed by the new employee’s third day of work and requires action from both the employee and the employer. The form, however, is prone to errors. Time errors and general errors, like mistakes on dates, or even forgetting to complete the form altogether, can lead to audits. Jamie says that employers often forget to complete the form on time-- a potentially messy and costly mistake to the organization.
When organizations get audited, the government looks at the entire company, costing the organization time and money. Audits are also likely to become more frequent as immigration becomes an increasingly controversial subject in our legislature today. Just last year, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audited more than 5,200 businesses.
Fortunately, E-Verify makes it easier for companies to be compliant by confirming employees’ citizenship status. When you run your employees’ Form I-9s through E-Verify, you’re not only ensuring that your employees are indeed eligible, but you’re enabling your organization to identify and correct any costly mistakes before it’s too late.
Right now, some kind of E-Verify is required in twenty states. Of those 20 states, most require that all public employees go through E-Verify; a handful of these states even take it a step further by requiring that all employees, private or public, go through E-Verify. Jamie explained that E-Verify is on its way to being more common with some legislation proposing that E-Verify be mandatory in all states.
HR teams know that Form I-9 and citizen verification can be so cumbersome, especially since they have to keep copies of the I-9 forms to prove that each employee is eligible to work. Luckily, there are solutions like I-9 Advantage that make Form I-9 both easy and foolproof. The system not only guides employees through the form, but it also guides employers through the verification of accuracy process with E-Verify. With I-9 Advantage, HR teams also have the opportunity to digitize existing I-9 paper forms, which is prudent for any company.
“What we have done with the I-9 Advantage system is we have worked really hard to make it intuitive for people who have no knowledge of the Form I-9,” said Jamie.
The I-9 Advantage software includes lots of validations, follow-up questions, and confirmations to make the forms as accurate as possible. Plus, when employees fill out their Form I-9 using I-9 Advantage, the employer has a digital copy of all of their I-9 Forms. When you can easily track and search I-9 Forms, you’re much more protected from potential audits.
Verified First is happy to have I-9 Advantage as a partner to ensure your screening experience is smoother than ever. To learn more about Form I-9 and E-Verify through I-9 Advantage and Verified First, visit our partner website.