Form I-9 is one of the most important hire forms for US employers. It helps them to check if individuals are authorized to work in the US. Employers have to file Form I-9 for every new employee they hire after November 6, 1986. Employers have to verify every employee and are subject to criminal penalties for knowingly recruiting and continuing to employ individuals who are otherwise not authorized to work in the US. Every new recruit authorized to work in the US, should be verified within three days of beginning his/her work. As mentioned earlier, Form I-9 has to be filed for every employee and the employer has to carefully verify the documents provided by the employee.

The employee has to take responsibility for submitting the documents, listed on the back of the I-9. If an employee is able to furnish the required verification of eligibility to work, it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of national origin or citizenship status. One who fails to comply with the I-9 requirements will be subjected to penalties and fines. Not completing or not making the forms available for inspection, knowingly recruiting employees who are not authorized or continuing to retain unauthorized employees are fee examples that would result in penalties and fines.

Remember that there are a few exceptions to the I-9 requirements. One need not file Form I-9s for employees hired before Nov. 6, 1986, who have been still employed by the same employer, casual workers doing domestic service in a private home, independent contractors, and workers in contract services, such as temporary agencies. In this case, the temporary agency has to file the I-9 for the employee.)

The employee has to fill section 1 when completing the I-9 and it should happen sometime between accepting the job offer and the first day of work. The employer has to make sure the employee completes this section correctly. Section 2 has to be completed by the employer and it generally includes examining the evidence of identity submitted. The employee can choose the forms of identification he/she has to provide from the list provided on the back of the I-9 form.

The employer is required to retain I-9 records for as long as the individual works for that particular employer. In case a person’s employment is terminated, it is mandatory for the employer to retain the form for at least three more years from the date of recruiting or one year from the date of termination (whichever is longer). It is better the employer keeps the I-9 forms in a separate location from other personal files. You must keep this ready for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) inspection within three days of their request.


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