For a child of the 1980s who started working in the late 1990s, it feels like Form I-9 has always been a part of the way things were done. But how and when did I-9s become a fact of onboarding?
We’re going do quick dive into the origins of Form I-9, its requirements and penalties, and the ways in which TrendSource’s Remote I-9 Verification Services can help employers complete this mandatory verification.
Why Do Employers Have to Complete Form I-9 Section 2?
The I-9 era began in 1986 with the passing of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which shifted the legal requirements and procedures for employment eligibility in the United States.
Since 1986, Form I-9 has been the sole means of verifying the identity and legal authorization to work for paid employees in the United States.
New Hires must complete Section 1 when they begin their employment; the employer must complete Section 2 no later than three days after the employee’s start date. It is the employer’s responsibility to complete and file the forms within the appropriate time frame.
Thankfully, in 2004, new legislation made it possible to complete Form I-9 electronically.
Who is Eligible to Work in the United States?
According to the IRCA, there are four groups of people who are legally authorized to be paid for work in the United States. These are the only four groups of people whose eligibility can be verified by Form I-9:
- US citizens
- US non-citizen nationals
- Lawful permanent residents
- Aliens authorized to work
Though there are other combinations of acceptable documents, in most cases, a US passport or a drivers license coupled with a social security card is used to verify US citizens. Depending on a New Hire’s Citizenship or Immigration status, other specified documents are required.
What are the Penalties for Not Verifying Employee Eligibility?
There are extensive penalties for employers who do not properly verify employee eligibility or fail to maintain records of this verification.
For example, any employer who hires an unauthorized worker can be fined between $250 and $5,500 per worker. The employer can also be barred from federal contracts for up to a year and will likely face prosecution for knowingly accepting fraudulent documents.
Yet, even if an employee is authorized to work in the United States, the employer can still face penalties for not properly documenting this authorization. An employer who does not keep proper records of their I-9s can be fined up to $1,100 per employee—even if the employee is legally authorized to work in the United States. Over the last decade, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has run thousands of employer audits to check for proper documentation, leveling over $80 million in fines.
TrendSource OSI Remote I-9 Verification
Obviously, with remote work on the rise, completing Form I-9 is no longer as simple as sending New Hires to HR on their first day of work. TrendSource OnSite Inspections offers in-person I-9 Verification for companies who need to complete Section 2 for their new remote hires, or even local hires who may not be working in the office. Of course, if companies are looking to onboard local hires, TrendSource can help with that too!
Our extensive Field Agent Network offers coverage across the United States, meaning wherever New Hires reside, and however far that is from company headquarters, employers can nonetheless ensure employment eligibility is verified quickly and efficiently.
Completing Form I-9 is never optional. Properly verifying employment eligibility has been a part of the onboarding process since the mid-1980s, and nobody wants to end up on the wrong side of a federal investigation. Companies have to do it one way or the other—it only makes sense to do it as efficiently as possible with TrendSource’s Remote I-9 Verification Services.