Preparing for I-9 Audits

Published:  July 12, 2018


There will be an insurgence going forward of I-9 audits in relation to workers employed within the United States. All U.S. employers are required to verify the identity and work authorization of their U.S. employees hired after the year 1986, according to the Immigration Reform and Control Act. Employers should document employment authorization verification on Form I-9. Further, employers are required by law to maintain the forms for government inspections.

These audits are performed by the Department of Justice, Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, Department of Labor, and are carried out by Immigration Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agents. ICE initiates an I-9 audit by serving a Notice of Inspection (“NOI”); this includes a request to a company to produce I-9 forms and other relevant documents related to its employees.

By conducting internal I-9 audits annually, employers can make correctable revisions on their employee’s I-9 forms as well as prepare the supporting documents that ICE may request in an either an NOI or subpoena. ICE encourages employers to conduct self-audits of their companies to ensure compliance. It is also recommended to prepare any questions ahead of time as to what further compliance or action may be required.

If the employer needs to extend the three business-day document production deadlines, they must submit a written request to ICE explaining their reasoning for the request and also provide a proposed timeline for when they will produce the documents. It is up to the specific ICE office and agent conducting the investigation as to whether ICE will grant an extension to provide documentation.

The agent or auditor will be reviewing the forms and documents for at least several weeks. Therefore, before the document production deadline, an employer should make a complete copy of all I-9 forms and other documents that they are producing to ICE. As with all workplace investigations where documents leave the building, it is highly recommended to request a submitted document receipt. 

More information on the auditing process can be found here.

If you have any questions regarding I-9 forms, ICE audits, or any other aspect of labor and employment law, please contact the attorneys at Royal, P.C.