Guidance on Internal I-9 Audits

By Carol Hildebrand

Because a government inspection can occur with only three days written notice, some employers choose to initiate internal audits of their company’s Forms I-9, utilizing their own personnel or attorneys with immigration or employment law experience. The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice have just added website guidance on how they recommend the optional internal audit be done. (Guidance for Employers Conducting Internal Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 Audits, is available here. ) The guidance advises on planning the audit, interacting with employees when Forms I-9 are deficient, and acceptable means of curing, or at least improving, problematic Forms I-9. Recommendations are also provided on how to minimize possible allegations of discrimination or retaliatory action.

In seeking to cure or improve I-9 compliance, employers are advised never to back-date any documentation and to maintain a previously completed Form I-9 along with any modified one.