To many employers and HR professionals, an I-9 form may appear to be a simple one-page piece of hiring paperwork. However, the one page I-9 form comes with multiple responsibilities to U.S. employers.
Employment is often the magnet that attracts individuals to reside in the United States. The purpose of the employer sanctions law is to remove the “magnet” of employment that drives illegal immigration, and require employers to hire only individuals who may legally work in the United States: U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, lawful permanent residents, and aliens authorized to work. To comply with the law, employers must verify the identity and employment authorization of each person they hire, complete and retain Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for each employee, and refrain from discriminating against individuals on the basis of national origin or citizenship.
There are many common mistakes and human errors that can be made while completing and maintaining I-9 records. If an employer fails to complete or maintain I-9 documentation correctly, that employer may fall out of compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement rules and suffer harsh financial penalties. No industry, regardless of size, type, or location is exempt from complying with the law. Fines for I-9 errors begin at $110 dollars per error and climb to tens of thousands of dollars per error for repeat and grave offenses. If an employer has one form per employee and multiple mistakes on each form, the financial penalties could quickly escalate into six and seven figures.