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Global Work Glossary

Lost in a maze of global employment jargon? Find your way out with our handy collection of work and HR terminology

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Form I-9

What is Form I-9?

Form I-9, officially known as the Employment Eligibility Verification Form, is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) document required by federal law. It is used to verify the identity and legal authorization to work of all paid employees in the United States. Every employer must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States.

Purpose of Form I-9

The primary purpose of Form I-9 is to prevent the illegal employment of individuals who are not authorized to work in the U.S. It requires employers to confirm each employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the country through specific documentation provided by the employee, as outlined by the form.

Compliance Requirements

Employers are responsible for ensuring the form is properly completed and retained according to the guidelines set by USCIS. This includes verifying that the documents presented by the employee are genuine and relate to the individual. Form I-9 must be retained by the employer either for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later.

Filing and Storage

Form I-9 is not submitted to the federal government but must be available for inspection by U.S. government officials, such as officers from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, and the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices. Employers must have a Form I-9 completed for all employees, including U.S. citizens.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Failure to comply with Form I-9 requirements can result in significant penalties, including fines and, in severe cases, criminal penalties if employers knowingly violate the law. The severity of penalties often depends on the nature of the non-compliance and the employer’s history of previous violations.

Form I-9 is a critical component in the enforcement of U.S. labour laws, ensuring that only individuals who are legally authorized to work are employed. It requires diligent attention from employers to ensure accuracy and compliance with immigration and employment laws, safeguarding the integrity of the U.S. workforce.

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