As an employer, one of your most important responsibilities when hiring a new employee is to properly complete a Form I-9. It sounds simple, but it can be easy to make a mistake or get confused as to exactly what is required. Below are three frequently asked questions and answers regarding the Form I-9 which come from the Handbook for Employers-Instructions for Completing Form I-9 issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Q. Do I need to fill out Forms I-9 for independent contractors or their employees?
A. No. For example, if you contract with a construction company to perform renovations on your building, you do not have to complete Forms I-9 for that company’s employees. The construction company is responsible for completing Forms I-9 for its own employees. However, you may not use a contract, subcontract or exchange to obtain the labor or services of an employee knowing that the employee is unauthorized to work.
Q. What is my responsibility concerning the authenticity of document(s) presented to me?
A. You must examine the document(s), and if they reasonably appear on their face to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting them, you must accept them. To do otherwise could be an unfair immigration-related employment practice. If the document(s) do not reasonably appear on their face to be genuine or to relate to the person presenting them, you must not accept them.
Q. May I fire an employee who fails to produce the required documents?
A. Yes. You may terminate an employee who fails to produce the required document or documents, or an acceptable receipt for a document, within three business days of the date employment begins.
Remember that completing Form I-9 is required by federal law for every employee you hire to work in the United States. Employers that violate the law may be subject to civil fines, as well as criminal penalties when there is a pattern or practice of violations.