Since November of 1986, the US Department of Immigration (now in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security) requires all employers to complete an I-9 Work Authorization form for every new employee hired. The I-9 form is the official determining factor verifying one’s permission to work in any company within the United States. While only a single form, filling it out can be somewhat imposing and verifying and tracking these forms for an entire company can be a huge challenge.
Yet, services are available to outsource these tasks to companies that will help you with the overall verification and tracking process. And the beauty of it all is that many of them not only handle the paperwork for you but also avoid using paper to do it – thus being greener as well.
A number of I-9 outsourcing companies (many of them Law firms) provide for a process that will completely automate your internal I-9 verification needs. Many provide you with a web site that allows you to internally do a “quick check” based on the potential employee’s social security number. Then, they can assist you with scanning and e-filing of all records pertaining to the required forms of ID. These records can be available to you remotely or provided electronically for local storage. Additionally, if issues with the verification process arise or if problems exist for current employees, these companies (again, many of them Law firms) stand ready to assist.
But these companies don’t just simply provide assistance with the actual I-9 verification process. They also provide services that can review your internal HR practices and guide you in keeping your standard operating procedures up to … standard. Many provide “precautionary audits” that review your internal HR structure without the stress associated with an actual government review. This can save not only huge amounts of time in having to potentially re-verify your personnel but the pressure that can be associated with a government audit.
If you are fully staffed in your HR department (as well as your Legal department) with a sound process and have all the immigration expertise you need … great! But for many, having access to these types of skills and resources, ones dedicated specifically to this process, is invaluable.