Voice

March-April 2013

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BLOGOSPHERE by Christine D. Mehfoud Back to Basics—Top 10 Must-Haves for Immigration Compliance M any employers likely have immigration compliance on their radar screen as 2013 gets underway. The Obama administration's continued focus on enforcing the nation's immigration laws by imposing stiff penalties on employers increases the likelihood that you will face an immigration-related inspection in 2013. Will your I-9 forms and immigration compliance practices hold up under scrutiny? With the recent increase in immigration enforcement, significant penalties, and the potential for bad press, employers are well-advised to create an immigration compliance program or give an existing program a facelift. What better way to roll up your sleeves and get started than to focus on the Top 10 Must-Haves for Immigration Compliance: 1. Form I-9 Audit To Immigration Customs Enforcement and the Department of Justice, the procedure by which the Form I-9 is completed and audited is just as important as the information provided on the form. Therefore, all employers should conduct a Form I-9 audit annually. Be careful here—we highly recommend hiring outside immigration counsel with expertise in this area; the risk of incorrectly conducting an audit is great because the Form I-9 is one of the most misunderstood federal government forms. 2. Form I-9 Training All employers should conduct annual training to ensure that the employees completing new I-9s and reverifying them understand all the nuances involved with accurately completing them. Responding to an 10 V OICE inspection by explaining that you were unaware of the Form I-9 requirements will not be viewed favorably. 3. Immigration Compliance Training In addition to training for employees responsible for the I-9, employers should conduct annual immigration compliance training on the policies and procedures implemented or updated by the employer throughout the year. Employers should train all hiring managers and supervisors regarding their respective roles in immigration compliance and ensure that all managers understand the nuances of constructive knowledge and to whom they should report information that indicates an employee is not authorized to work in the United States. Human resources personnel should receive annual training regarding how to respond to such reports to ensure not only that the company avoids discriminatory conduct, but also that it appropriately investigates any information that might be considered constructive knowledge of the hiring or continued employment of an unauthorized worker. 4. Form I-9 Retention and Storage Employers should have a written document retention policy for I-9s and ensure that it is being followed. They also should ensure that the forms are stored appropriately (i.e., separate from personnel folders and separated by current and former employees).

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