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7 Essential Steps to Prepare for I-9 Audits

As more and more employers, both large and small, undergo I-9 audits conducted by ICE, it is important to ensure that your company has an effective HR Management process that will implement proper procedures to avoid record-keeping errors, potential worksite noncompliance, and hefty civil fines.

The best way to reduce the chances of facing financial risks and public relations exposure is by taking a proactive approach in your company’s HR management process and prioritizing comprehensive reviews of your company’s I-9 compliance.

Here are 7 essential steps your company can take to prepare for an I-9 audit: 

  1. Implement a written policy and procedure for hiring and firing employees;
  2. Implement a written policy and procedure for maintaining employee files, including I-9 forms, payroll records, records of 1099 subcontractors, to name a few;
  3. Designate an HR representative to be accountable for all HR files and hiring and firing procedures;
  4. Implement and annually re-evaluate HR training requirements pertaining to I-9 compliance;
  5. Create a “New Hire Checklist” to ensure all necessary paperwork is completed by the new employee and submitted to your company before he/she begins employment;
  6. Conduct an annual internal HR audit of all employee files and I-9 documentation; and
  7. Maintain a file with annual HR audit results for record in the event of an external I-9 audit by ICE.

Having an effective HR Management process that includes written policies and procedures for hiring new employees and maintaining employee files will help your company be consistent in form completion and hiring practices, and not to mention, alleviate some of the added stress of an unexpected I-9 audit. 

If your company would like to conduct a comprehensive internal audit to review your I-9 documentation and company’s hiring processes and procedures, our Compliance Team at Reddy Neumann Brown PC offers a special package with ways to help you protect your business.