Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is accelerating its efforts to stem the ongoing practice of employers hiring unauthorized workers, payment of unfair wages or other unlawful working conditions. The Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 is a Citizenship and Immigration Services form. This is a document that is used by employers to verify the identity of employees and to determine if the worker is allowed to work in the United States. The I9 must be completed by both the employee and the employer and must be maintained by the employer. The types of documents that can be used to determine eligibility are varied.

There is an “A” list of single documents which can stand alone, which are:

US Passport, US Passport Card, Permanent Resident Card , Alien Registration Receipt Card with photograph, an unexpired Temporary Resident Card, and unexpired Employment Authorization Card, and unexpired Employment Authorization Document issued by the Dept of Homeland Security that includes a photograph.

Then there is the “B” list which establishes identity, but requires a second document from the “C” list to establish employment eligibility.

The “B” list:

A Driver’s license, or ID card issued by a US state or outlying possession of the US, provided it contains a photograph or identifying information (name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color and address), school ID with photograph, US Armed Services ID or draft record, US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card, Native American tribal document, driver’s license issued by a Canadian government authority .

The “C” list:

A US Social Security card issued by the Social Security Administration (those that specify “not valid for employment” are not acceptable) A birth certificate issued by the US State Department, Original or certified copy of a birth certificate from the US or an outlying possession of the US bearing an official seal, Native American tribal document, US Citizen ID Card, Resident Citizen ID card, and an unexpired employment authorization card issued by the Dept of Homeland Security.

If an employer fails to have the I9 completed, they can face fines from $110 to $1100 for each employee. If they continue to hire non eligible workers the first offense is $375 to $3200 per employee , the second offense is $3200 to $6500 per employee and each additional offense is $4300 to $11,000. If an employer knows and continues to employ an ineligible worker he can be fined $3000 and serve a 6 month sentence. If there are false statements, misuse of Visas and other identification documents the fine is $3000 or a 5 year jail sentence, or both.

I9 compliance can be confusing, but there are many companies who specialize in assisting employers with this document and at an affordable rate. Not only is the employer at risk for I9 compliance, but also they must be prudent if they fail to hire an individual based on the I9, as they may be liable for a discrimination lawsuit.