Every Employer in the US has to fill out a valid I-9 form for every employee. The form addresses whether the employee has the legal authority to work in the United States. The Employer is supposed to keep copies of documents like H-1B approval, or Green card, etc in their file, and update them as it becomes necessary. It has so far been an honor driven system, and the Citizenship and Immigration Services rarely audited them.

However the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on July 01, 2009 that it will step up its audit for the employers. It has already issued 652 notices of Inspections to businesses. The Employers will have to surrender all I-9s within 3 days. For large employers there may be many instances that the I-9 has not been updated. Small employers may not even know about the requirement to keep I-9s.

The US Government has instituted the E-verify system, where the employer has to input the Social Security numbers of their new hires into the Government computers, and they will know if the employee is legal to work. However, if the employee used false IDs and SS Numbers, and the employers knew about it, they will not be immune, simply because E verify passed it.

Recently Krispy Kreme Doughnut Company was fined $40,000/- for I-9 valuation.

All Companies should do their own audits of their I-9 and update everything as soon as possible.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details