Back to Top skip to main content
GandS U.S. Immigration Logo
Jul 9, 2019

Form I-9 Audits Shift Into High Gear

David Spaulding

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), within the Department of Homeland Security, audits and investigates immigration violations of work rules.  The document at the center of those inquiries is the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). Form I-9 may not be the easiest form to complete though.  Determining whether the identification and work authorization documentation the employee presents are sufficient can be challenging, particularly for companies without established practices and policies.                                                   

Many employers find themselves out of compliance and uncertain of how to proceed.  As we discussed in a January 3, 2019 post, their concern is well-founded since ICE has greatly increased the numbers of Form I-9 audits, conducting 6,848 worksite enforcement actions in 2018, up from just 1,691 in 2017. The odds of receiving an audit notice, called a “Notice of Inspection,” and having to respond within three days, have increased and promise to increase through the rest of this fiscal year.  However, for many employers, Form I-9 compliance was never part of their operations.  They may have grown up as a “mom and pop” business and, as they expanded, simply kept doing what they had always done.  Often, that did not include filling out Form I-9s. Other businesses are not sure whether they are in compliance or not, as their documents have not been audited or policies reviewed in some time. 

There have been some recent high-profile Form I-9 cases that highlight the importance of addressing document deficiencies.  For example, the June raids of Southeastern Pennsylvania farms were predicated on Form I-9 Notices of Inspections.  We have seen audits and worksite raids of technologies companies like CVE Technology Group Incand staffing companies servicing larger corporations.  Grocery stores and large-scale bakeries have been in ICE’s sights too.  More companies are receiving ICE Notices of Inspection and more are finding themselves struggling to meet the short response deadlines. 

The costs of not complying are high and it is vital that companies get a sense of their compliance picture, asking:  Do we have Form I-9s?  Did we use the right version of the form?  Are the forms filled out correctly?  Do we have acceptable copies of employee documents?  How do we structure the corrections to minimize business disruptions?  What are our duties to employees without documents?  What can we communicate to our employees?  And, of course, if the answers to these questions are not ideal, perhaps the most important question is “how do we fix it?”

While the Form I-9 seems simple, navigating the overall compliance environment can be challenging and those challenges are all the greater for companies not already in compliance.  Since ICE only provides three days to respond to a Notice of Inspection, it is wise to be proactive and take immigration and compliance risk management seriously.   

The Green and Spiegel approach is grounded in addressing liability with minimal business disruption and is the right partner for companies wishing to fix things before being subject to a worksite enforcement action.  If already served with a Notice of Inspection, Green and Spiegel’s solid reputation for cleaning things up the right way is essential to avoiding significant business interruptions, both functionally and financially.

If your company wants help with such matters, please contact our compliance and regulatory enforcement team at Green and Spiegel, LLC.

Related Team

D Spaulding Team Page

David Spaulding

(215) 395-8959

(215) 395-8959

email David

Philadelphia (US Headquarters)

Full Biography

David Spaulding

Related Services:

Recent Blogs

Sep 21, 2021

By Mid-November, Those Who Have Been Fully Vaccinated Will Likely Be Free to Travel to the U.S. Without A COVID-19 Waiver

The Biden Administration is preparing to set aside the COVID-19 Travel Restrictions for fully vaccinated foreign nationals. By mid-November, many noncitizens may be able to travel to the U.S. with vaccination proof and a negative COVID-19 test. Foreign travelers who are not fully vaccinated will likely remain subject to Travel Restrictions and may find it more difficult to get COVID-19 waivers. Learn more.

Sep 17, 2021

Update on the H-1B Cap Lottery System

On Wednesday, a California federal judge struck down a controversial Trump-era rule which aimed to change the H1-B lottery system from the current random selection process to one based upon prioritizing those with higher salaries. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White joined a growing list of federal judges who have found that former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf was not lawfully appointed as Acting Secretary, and therefore lacked any authority to implement the new January 2021 rule. Learn more in this blog.

Sep 17, 2021

DOS Announces Visa Interviews may be Waived for Certain F, M and J Visa Applicants

Understanding the important contributions foreign nationals make to college and university campuses, The Department of State (DOS) announced on September 14th, 2021 that Consular officers are authorized to expand the categories of F, M, and “academic J visa applicants” eligible to be waived from the in-person interview with certain exceptions. Learn more in this blog.