Develop an easy to follow written immigration policy including the basics of Form I-9 preparation, the I-9 storage and retention rules and a summary of both the federal and state immigration rules. Include procedures to investigate any claims of unauthorized employment or fraudulent documents submitted during the I-9 process.
Train, train, train!
While a well written training manual is a great roadmap, you must take it for a test drive to know whether it will lead you to successful compliance. All employees responsible for hiring or completing the I-9 forms should be trained and re-trained at least once a year.
Audit: Check and double check!
Employers must periodically verify their I-9 forms are in proper order and personnel are complying with the I-9 requirements. A systematized audit is the best way to do this. An internal self audit of the I-9 forms by experienced HR managers on monthly, quarterly or bi-annual basis is recommended. Also, hire an immigration attorney to conduct an I-9 audit annually. The attorney will know how to identify, edit and correct I-9 form errors and recommend improvements for I-9 compliance and training.
Enforce the rules.
Your company is not protected by a compliance policy that is not followed. Require individuals with I-9 oversight to strictly compliance with your policy and hold them accountable if they don't.
Investigate reports of violations.
Employers must develop and implement a nondiscriminatory, consistent, and effective process to investigate credible reports from individuals who allege unauthorized employment, document fraud or identity theft. Considering that ICE audits are often triggered by "tips" from concerned citizens, a prudent Employer must take seriously any tips it receives.
Consult an immigration attorney before taking any action against an employee.
An employer must balance both the verification and anti-discrimination rules of immigration law. While there is never a guarantee against a lawsuit or prosecution, Employers must consider both these rules to avoid any claims of misconduct. A knowledgeable immigration attorney can help you manage these risks, update you on any changes in the law, and advise you as to the lawfulness of termination before you take that step.