It’s Winter 2013…Are your HR practices ready for ICE?

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reached its highest number yet of companies audited for [unauthorized] immigrants on their payrolls this past fiscal year. Audits of employer I-9 forms increased from 250 in fiscal year 2007 to more than 3,000 in 2012. From fiscal years 2009 to 2012, the total amount of fines grew to nearly $13 million from $1 million. The number of company managers arrested has increased to 238, according to data provided by ICE.” Manuel Valdes, Associated Press, Dec. 24, 2012.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”)  is  the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the second largest investigative agency in the federal government. Every employer in the United States must have an I-9 document for every employee after they have been employed at your company for 3 business days.  When was the last time you took a good look at your I-9 files?  Are they current?  Are they filled out exactly correct?  Where are you keeping them?  Have you purged old files?

While most U.S. employers would never intentionally break the law by hiring a person who is not legally eligible to work in the U.S., many employers are audited and fined over very simple and avoidable employment paperwork violations. Most people who read this posting know what an I-9 form looks like, but, unfortunately, like many government forms, it takes time to understand how to fill them out correctly and handle the administrative responsibilities associated with this required employer paperwork.

In 2013, protect your company’s profits by reducing the chances of government fines and associated legal costs. Ensure your forms, files and processes are correct. You’ll be ready to weather any audit ICE storm that comes your way!