|Employment Verification -- I9 Compliance
The Immigration Reform and Control Act made all U.S. employers responsible for verifying the employment eligibility and identity of all employees hired to work in the United States after November 6, 1986. To be in compliance with the law, every U.S. employer is required to complete Employment Eligibility Verification forms (Form I9) for all employees, including U.S. citizens. However, if the employer hired an employee before November 7, 1986, and has continuously employed him or her, the employer does not need to complete a Form I9 for that individual.
Furthermore, the Form I9 need not be completed for those individuals providing: domestic services in a private household that are sporadic, irregular, or intermittent; services for the employer as an independent contractor; and services for the employer, under a contract, subcontract, or exchange entered into after November 6, 1986.
When a new employee is hired, he or she must complete Section 1 of a Form I9 no later than close of business on his or her first day of work. The employee's signature holds him or her responsible for the accuracy of the information provided. The employer is responsible for ensuring that the employee completes Section 1 in full. No documentation from the employee is required to substantiate Section 1 information provided by the employee.
No later than close of business on the employee's third day of employment services, the employer must complete section 2 of the Form I9. The employer must review documentation presented by the employee and record document information of the form. Only original documents are satisfactory, with the exception of a certified photocopy of a birth certificate. Proper documentation establishes both that the employee is authorized to work in the U.S. and that the employee who presents the employment authorization document is the person to whom it was issued. The employer should supply to the employee the official list of acceptable documents for establishing identity and work eligibility. The employer may accept any List A document, establishing both identity and work eligibility, or combination of a List B document (establishing identity) and List C document (establishing work eligibility).
The employer must examine the document(s) and accept them if they reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee who presents them. An employer may attach photocopies of documentation presented to the employee's Form I9. (Where this practice is undertaken, it must be consistently applied to every employee, without regard to citizenship or national origin.) Requesting more or different documentation than the minimum necessary to meet this requirement may constitute an unfair immigration related employment practice. If the documentation presented by an employee does not reasonably appear to be genuine or relate to the employee who presents them, employers must refuse acceptance and ask for other documentation from the list of acceptable documents that meets the requirements. In reviewing the genuineness of the documents presented by employees, employers are held to a reasonableness standard. If an employee cannot present documentation that meets the requirements, the employer should not continue to employ him or her.
Retention and Inspection
Once the Form I9 is completed, the employer must maintain the form in its own files for 3 years after the date of hire or 1 year after the date the employee's employment is terminated, whichever is later. Form I9 records may be stored at the worksite to which they relate or at a company headquarters (or other) location, but the storage choice must make it possible for the documents to be transmitted to the worksite within 3 days of an official request for production of the documents for inspection.
Upon request, all Forms I9 subject to the retention requirement must be made available in their original form or on microfilm or microfiche to an authorized official of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Labor, and/or the Justice Department's Office of Special Counsel for Unfair Immigration Related Employment Practices. The official will give employers at least 3 days advance notice before the inspection. Original documents (as opposed to photocopies) may be requested.
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