Employers in the United States are required to maintain I-9 compliance documents from all of their employees. Regardless of whether they are citizens or non-citizens, employers must ensure that the employment eligibility and identity documents provided by the employee are added to the I-9 form.
Before you move forward with the process of ensuring that your employees meet the necessary I-9 compliance requirements, it is vital to be aware of the role that I-9 compliance plays in the immigration process for employers in Seattle. Adhering to strict guidelines can be challenging for many managers, business owners, and employers, but a skilled immigration lawyer can help.
I-9 Compliance for Seattle Employees
The concept of I-9 compliance was created in 1986 and resulted in the ongoing practice of ensuring that no citizens can live or work in the country without first registering themselves. The set guidelines within I-9 compliance state that anyone who cannot provide the requested paperwork cannot be employed.
Working to establish I-9 compliance requires important paperwork from every individual that is employed at any given business or organization. This adherence applies to various employees at all different levels, regardless of their background or role within the company, such as:
- Part-time employees
- Full-time employees
- Managers and supervisors
- Contract employees who have the potential to obtain a full-time position
Maintaining compliance with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can seem like it is not necessary for an employee who is a citizen of the country, but these forms help to implement specific criteria for permanent residency that can be useful if there is an inspection. During ICE inspections, if an employer fails to comply, retain, or maintain their I-9 compliance, they can face criminal or civil penalties that can cause devastating financial consequences.
Retaining I-9 Documents for Seattle Employees
As long as an employee is on your payroll, you are encouraged to store and maintain their I-9 documentation. Even if the employee recently parted ways from the company, there may still be circumstances where their proof of employment will need to be verified. Employers should keep I-9 documents after an employee has left if:
- The employee worked for less than two years at the organization
- The employee worked for more than two years
According to Federal Regulations associated with I-9 compliance, employers must keep all I-9 forms for each person they hire for three years after the date of hire, which is the day that the document was created. The other option states that they must keep the I-9 documents for up to one year after their date of employment ends, depending on which is later.
Establishing Documentation for I-9 Compliance in Seattle, WA
There is a set timeframe in which an employer must complete an I-9 compliance document. Once a new employee is brought on to a team, employers have three business days after their first day at work to finalize the I-9 document. To properly complete the I-9 documentation, all employees are required to provide their employer with legal paperwork that establishes their identity, such as an ID card or a driver's license, as well as documents that prove their eligibility to work in the United States.
Depending on the information that an employee has access to, they can choose to provide any of the following documents to help their employer establish an I-9 document:
- U.S. Passport
- Permanent Resident Card
- Employment Authorization Document
- Permanent Resident Card, "Signature Waived"
- Permanent Resident Card with a USCIS-issued sticker extending their stay
- Previous Permanent Resident Card with signature
- A foreign passport containing a Form I-551 stamp or Form I-551 printed notation
- A foreign passport with Form I-94 or Form I-94A
- Including a record of Arrival-Departure times and a legal endorsement to work
No matter what kind of documents an employee uses to establish their identity and employment eligibility, they must ensure that they are adhering to the guidelines for I-9 forms. It can often feel overwhelming for an employer to manage ongoing I-9 compliance for all of their employees, but working with a qualified immigration lawyer in Seattle can give employers the opportunity to seek reliable legal counsel whenever they need it and ensure that their relevant questions are answered.
Knowledgeable I-9 Compliance Immigration Lawyers in Seattle, WA
The process of ensuring I-9 compliance can be challenging for Seattle employers who do not have the assistance of a reliable immigration lawyer. If you are looking for dedicated counsel from experienced Seattle immigration lawyers who can help you establish I-9 compliance, the team at Orbit Law is trained to assist employers with a variety of immigration-related challenges.
Here at Orbit Law, our lawyers have worked with thousands of clients across Seattle, and now we are ready to bring our years of experience to your case. To find out more information about I-9 compliance or any other matter related to immigration in Seattle, call us at (206) 623-3352 or reach out online to schedule your consultation today.