Be prepared for a visit from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with a voluntary Form I-9 audit
The usual scenario for a voluntary I-9 audit is when an employer frantically calls our office in the face of a mandatory ICE audit with only a few days to spare before the company’s I-9 forms must be turned over to the ICE agent.
But there are other good reasons why an employer may decide to conduct a voluntary I-9 Form audit: a merger or acquisition; a non-immigration related investigation by federal or state agencies, such as DOL or IRS; as well as mandatory or voluntary E-Verify implementation. Before embarking on a voluntary audit, the employer needs to think through the entire process and all of the possible outcomes. More importantly, the employer should determine ahead of time what policies and procedures will be followed to respond to the results of the audit, whether it is as minor as I-9 Form corrections, or as major as an employee walk out in response to the audit.
The range of consequences from an audit will vary depending on the size of the company, the industry, the type of workforce, union involvement and a myriad of other factors. So an employer’s first task is to identify the worst possible outcomes of an audit based upon the employer’s individual company characteristics PRIOR to the audit. And, of course, the employer’s best practice would be to draft company policies PRIOR to the audit. Let us know if we can help!