Advantages of Automated Form I-9 Management


Emptech's founder, Jeff Aleixo


Jeffrey Aleixo

Automated Form I-9 management, I-9 compliance

Form I-9 is a federally mandated document proving that an employer is hiring an employee who meets the federal and state guidelines for legal employment in the U.S. at the time of the I-9 completion. As such, Form I-9 is one of the most heavily regulated and audited federal forms, making it necessary for employers to handle it with utmost precision and individual attention.

Unlike other forms on which a mistake is of little consequence and might easily be corrected, Form I-9 errors can result in heavy fines and penalties. At the same time, errors are common and problems may arise for many reasons, such as untrained or poorly trained staff supervision, or failure to conduct internal audits and catch mistakes or inadequacy. 

However, with automated Form I-9 management, employers ensure more efficient employee onboarding, space saving, and vastly improved compliance with employment, nondiscrimination and immigration laws. Also, generating and processing Form I-9 electronically means fewer errors, which is especially important for companies that have a large number of employees, high turnover rates, and multiple worksites.

Overcoming Costly Mistakes with Automated Form I-9 Management

Due to the nature and complexities of the Form I-9, mistakes on behalf of both employees and employers are common. It takes a lot of time and effort to get new employees to complete the form properly and review them for accuracy. In addition to this, I-9 regulations and verification methods are constantly changing, thus becoming more difficult for employers to monitor and stay up to date. 

Correctly completed Forms I-9 are employers’ best proof of compliance and key defense against government fines and lawsuits. Yet, manual I-9 processes not integrated with existing HR platforms make employee data redundant and error-prone, and without a central repository, forms are easily lost, posing a much higher audit risk.

However, automated Form I-9 management helps employers streamline I-9 compliance to avoid common issues. When compared to managing paper I-9 forms, an electronic system can offer a number of advantages:

  • Meeting employment eligibility verification compliance requirements such as completing Form I-9 within 3 business days of the date of hire;
  • Establishing detailed audit trails to ensure fully compliant electronic forms;
  • Management, preparation, document storage and audit reports meeting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) standards;
  • Real-time dashboards designed to assist users in managing and monitoring Form I-9 and E-Verify compliance, keeping them focused on open items that need attention to assure on-time submission;
  • Ease and consistency in completing forms, resulting in increased accuracy rates;
  • Reminders and alerts for re-verification as well as inbuilt notifications in the event of document expiry;
  • Controls in place not allowing forms to be entered into the system with incomplete or wrong information;
  • Efficient and compliant remote hiring;
  • Conversion of archived paper I-9 forms into compliant and easily manageable electronic forms;
  • Automated purging of expired I-9 forms and purge reports; and
  • Real-time reporting tools designed to ensure data protection.

Finally, an automated Form I-9 management solution can offer the easiest path to compliance as long as it meets not only USCIS Form I-9 requirements but also U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ruling regarding the electronic signing and storage of I-9 forms. Some of the key points of the ruling are:

  • Clear audit trails outlining when I-9 forms are created, completed, updated, modified or corrected;
  • Easy production of Form I-9 paper copies, including batch and individual copies, as well as supporting documents;
  • Retrieval systems allowing searches that meet ICE requirements for accessibility and storage;
  • Once electronic records are created, completed or updated, a secure and permanent record must provide information including the date of access, the identity of the individual who accessed electronic records and a history of the action taken.
Find out how to achieve accuracy in completing Form I-9, ensure constant compliance with regulations and avoid common violations with this detailed guide.

Keeping up to Date with Latest Form I-9 Changes

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DHS announced some flexibility provisions for Form I-9 compliance. In addition to introducing remote verification and electronic review of documents presented by the employee for Form I-9 completion, DHS temporarily allowed employers to accept certain types of expired identification for Form I-9. However, as of May 1, 2022, employers will no longer be permitted to accept expired List B documents. 

Employers that accepted expired List B documents between May 1, 2020, and April 30, 2022, must update their I-9 forms by July 31, 2022. Therefore, they should review their Form I-9 process and ensure those employees responsible for completing Section 2 of the Form I-9 on the company’s behalf are aware of these changes. 

Changes such as this one together with recently increased fines, and ICE preparing for new inspections require employers now more than ever to establish a modern and flexible employment eligibility verification process. The best answer to this is an automated Form I-9 management that helps minimize risk with built-in quality control mechanisms, easy access to stored I-9 forms, automatic notification of employment authorization expiration dates, integration with E-Verify and data security measures.

Make I-9 forms easier to store and inspect, bring consistency to the completion process, and reduce costly mistakes while ensuring compliance with changing regulations.
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