7 Ways to Improve Your I-9 Process

An Employer Discusses Their I-9 Strategy

Your I-9 The process is seamless and covers all aspects of compliance, from document review and verification to storage and retention. Employees and talent leaders are happy with the process, making it an overall successful endeavor.

However, even with well-established processes, there is always room for improvement. In the ever-changing field of immigration, it is crucial to adopt best practices in I-9 management, optimizing your strategy to take it to the next level.

In this article, we’ll explore seven key practices to take your I-9 processes from predictable to highly efficient.

Best Practice #1: Not Just Creating Policies, But Effective Training

Talented leaders recognize that policies and procedures serve as a road map for their teams. While having a comprehensive written I-9 policy is essential for consistent management and compliance, it is equally important to ensure that employees adhere to these policies.

As a leader, it is imperative to provide training and enforce your policies to ensure your team is aligned with your I-9 procedures. Because Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) imposes hefty fines for I-9 violations, it is essential that your team understands and fully implements your I-9 policies.

Here are five ways to effectively train your team on your I-9 policies:

  1. Ensure easy access to your policies, allowing employees to view them at any time, preferably in digital formats with appropriate security measures.
  2. Conduct ongoing training to keep your team informed of policy changes.
  3. Use quizzes and gamification to engage and assess employee knowledge.
  4. Lead by example, demonstrating that talented leaders also adhere to policy.
  5. Explain the importance of following policies to your team.

Best practice #2: Integrate E-Verify into your I-9 processes

E-Verify, administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is an Internet-based system that verifies employment eligibility by cross-referencing Form I-9 information with the SSA or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Depending on the location and type of your organization, E-Verify may not only be a best practice; this could be a legal requirement. Consult your employment or immigration attorney to determine its applicability.

Best practice #3: implementing task reminder systems

To avoid missing critical tasks and deadlines, consider implementing an automated task tracking system. This system can send reminders to your computer, smartphone or tablet based on your preferences.

For example, you may receive reminders for visa renewals, which may require updates to Section 3 of an employee’s Form I-9. Additionally, automated reminders can help ensure that new employees complete their I-9 forms on their first day on the job, as required by the “Thursday Rule” (the employer’s legal obligation to complete Section 2 of Form I-9 within three days of the employee’s first day of employment).

Compliance with these rules and deadlines is essential for overall compliance.

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Best Practice #4: Proactive Self-Audits

Performing self-audits can help you identify and rectify inconsistencies and errors in your I-9 processes. Given the complexity of I-9 regulations and the risk of errors, self-audits can save time and money by proactively addressing issues.

The frequency of self-audits should match the size and turnover rate of your business. Larger organizations or those with high turnover may need more frequent self-audits to maintain compliance.

Best Practice #5: Leverage Technology to Leverage Compliance

Technological solutions to ensure compliance with I-9 regulations. Digitizing your operations can reduce errors, streamline administrative tasks and make it easier to store, track and retain documents.

The technology can also provide quick notifications for document updates and destruction, simplifying your workflow. Consistency in policy implementation is crucial, and technology helps create a legally defensible process, essential for audits and potential government inspections.

Best Practice #6: Establish a Compliance Monitoring Program

Employer completing work visa documents

Creating a compliance monitoring program is essential to ensure continued compliance with I-9 regulations. This practice involves regularly reviewing and auditing your I-9 records and processes, even after initial onboarding. I-9 regulations may change and employee records may become outdated. By regularly monitoring compliance, you can quickly identify discrepancies, errors, or outdated information and quickly take corrective action.

Proactive monitoring also allows you to detect potential problems before they become serious. This can help avoid costly fines and legal consequences resulting from non-compliance. This practice demonstrates your commitment to maintaining a compliant workforce.

Best practice #7: Engage legal counsel or compliance experts

Engaging legal counsel or compliance experts specializing in immigration and labor laws can provide your organization with invaluable guidance and support for I-9 compliance. I-9 regulations can be complex and subject to change. Legal advisors or experts stay informed of the latest legal developments, ensuring that your organization remains compliant with applicable laws and regulations.

In the event of a government audit or inspection, having legal counsel or experts on your side can be invaluable. They can guide your organization through the audit process, help resolve any issues and ensure your rights are protected.

Incorporating these best practices will help optimize your I-9 processes, ensuring greater efficiency and compliance in this critical aspect of talent management.

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