Form I-9 is an identification form that an employer uses to verify that an employee is eligible to work in the United States and to also acquire basic background information on a new hire. I-9 forms collect information such as Social Security number, Date of Birth, household income, as well as current immigration status in the country. I-9 forms are to be kept with an employer for a period of three years or up to a year after the employee stops working with the employer. No government is given the responsibility of verifying an I-9 form, only an employer can revise it and declare it legitimate. In the United States, only those with the appropriate credentials are allowed to work. These authorizations involve being a U.S. citizen, or immigrant with permission to work. By filling out Form I-9, the employee states that they meet the requirements to work in the United States.
The U.S government can perform I-9 audits, or inspections, at any point of the year. Those inspections can occur in one of two ways; document production demands, or visiting companies to inspect if they are following procedure. Visits can be done by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, or the Department of Justice. There are different methods of validating an employee’s work status, for example E-verify. E-verify is a system that cross examines the information on the I-9 provided and the information on the Department of Homeland Security database to verify that the information provided by the employer is correct. If during an investigation it is clear that an employer is not confirming that his/her workers are legitimately legal to work in the United States and continues to hire those who are not authorized, fines can be placed on their part. By law, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide an employee Form I-9 to complete correctly.
Required credentials of Form I-9 include documents establishing identity and employment authorization. There are two sections of form I-9 that an employee can fill out using the documents they have available. List A requires the use of one of the following; a U.S. passport or passport card, resident card or alien registration card, foreign passport with temporary I-551 stamp, or employment authorization. Nonimmigrant aliens will need a foreign passport. Certain countries require special forms as well. There are also lists B and C that are used only if list A was left blank. List B requires a form of identification which can include a Driver’s license or identification card issued by a State or Government that describes a person’s appearance, a school ID, Voter’s registration card, U.S. Military ID, as well as Native American tribal documents. For minors under 18, records from schools, daycares, or hospitals must be shown. List C focuses on employment authorization such as a Social Security Card, unless indicated otherwise, proof of birth by certificate of report issued by the Department of State, Citizen or Resident Citizen ID card, Native American tribal document, or authorization document given by the Department of Homeland Security.
In order to be cleared to work in the United States, the information provided in Form I-9 must be legitimate and up-to-date. During I-9 audits, inspectors look for accuracy. If information fails to coincide, the employer can be fined and/or taken to court for not complying with the law. I-9 audits are made to verify that the workers in the United States are working legally with the right documents. These audits have increased dramatically since the early 2000’s to now. There have been many inspections that have revealed many employers who are not abiding by the law and who are not verifying information that was provided by the employee.
Elizee Law Firm is a full service immigration firm that can represent a company or employer in the event of an I-9 audit. This firm is devoted to serving the community in every immigration matter. If an issue regarding an I-9 audit arises, Elizee Law Firm will provide the services you need to reach your legal goal. Please contact us at (305) 371-8846 for more information.