Under federal law employers, including tax-exempt organizations, are required to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all individuals they hire, and to document that information using the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. In an effort to reduce illegal employment, I-9 audits increased significantly (nearly 400%) in 2018. Job site visits are often unannounced.
Both the employer and the employee must complete their part of the form, which can be found at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9. The employee must also present his or her employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and record the document information on the Form I-9. The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of the form.
Employers must maintain the completed Form I-9 in their files for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date employment ends, whichever is later. (You do not have to send the form to USCIS). Penalties for failing to produce a Form I-9, range from $110 to $1,100 per violation.
In order to limit the review/audit of other employment documents, it is recommended that you keep all I-9 forms in a separate folder, rather than keeping them in each individual employee’s file with other employment documents.