June 18, 2014

I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form: Compliance – The Cost of Saving

As a business owner, how much of your company yearly budget is allocated to pay for I-9 compliance training and how much for fines and penalties?

Frequently, small and medium size business owners dismiss the importance of I-9 compliance due to a lack of information or the belief that the I-9 is a “simple” one page form that “anyone can complete.” For large companies, I-9 compliance is the responsibility of the HR department, which (sometimes) lacks the appropriate training to completing I-9 forms correctly.

I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form: Compliance – The Cost of Saving In addition, there is the perception that if a company does not employ foreign workers, there is no need to be concerned with immigration laws.

I-9 compliance is one of the most underestimated areas of immigration law. As DHS (Department of Homeland Security) increases enforcement efforts and threatens criminal sanctions for immigration violations, employers must become more knowledgeable and improve their compliance with I-9 federal immigration requirements.

There are “technical and procedural” mistakes that can be made when completing I-9 forms. These “mistakes,” for the untrained eye, may go unnoticed or be so insignificant (“harmless”) that they do not need correction or can be corrected at any time (by anyone). However, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency—through costly fines and penalties—enforces immigration compliance and penalizes employers for failure to comply with I-9 regulations.

Almost every mistake I can think of, can be resolved with good training and consistent I-9 compliance practices. Foregoing training and implementation of a solid I-9 compliance program can cost you dearly in the future, so save big in fines and penalties by implementing a sound I-9 compliance and training program now.

In our next blog post on this issue, we will outline 7 tips to properly complete I-9 forms.

For assistance with your I-9 compliance program, you are invited to contact me at alopez@cowlesthompson.com, 214-672-2162.

The information provided in this article is intended to help you understand basic issues involved in the immigration process, and are offered only for general informational and educational purposes. This information is not offered as, nor does it constitute legal advice or legal opinions. You should not act or rely upon the information in this article without first seeking the advice of an immigration attorney.

–By Angela M. Lopez