March 8, 2013 was the day many of us had been waiting for and most of us didn't know was even coming. The long-awaited update to the USCIS I-9 form arrived!

 Many people in the seminar classes I teach ask, "Is this a good thing or should we be worried?" I always say, "Both!" So, let's break it down. Here are two very important tips for surviving the I-9.

 I'll give you the bad news first. Many people do not realize ALL employees MUST have an I-9 on file during the entire time of employment. If your employee has worked for you on or after November 7th, 1986, an I-9 must be on file.

 Many business owners take the I-9 lightly. They get a form on U.S. citizen employees and feel like it is OK to just ignore the rest. I don’t know how often I hear, "This the way I've always done things and I have yet to be audited!" I strongly encourage self-auditing your I-9 files now and every year around the same time. In my experience, this initial audit will reveal areas that need attention immediately about 90% of the time.

 You may do the audit yourself or hire someone to do it for you. I am not suggesting your inside team will not do a fine job. But, I know for a fact that many business owners and other leadership will not take seriously the cautioning of the 'insiders'. I have been on both ends of this sad reality and I hear this frustration in my seminar room every week!

 For this reason, I recommend bringing in an outsider to audit. It is much more likely change will happen if the person promoting the change is unbiased. Don't be that closed-minded employer. Listen. It is for your own good. But, if you are that employer, bring in an outsider you will listen to and then follow their advice.

 Now for the GOOD news! ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is not necessarily looking to come in and see how much they can fine you for failing to follow the law. They say they want their inspections to be "educational efforts". However, any problems you cannot fix in 10 days will become fines. So, audit-secure your business now and you won't be afraid of the Notice of Inspection when you receive it. If you do your job now and properly prepare, it will be easier on your pocketbook later.

 Until next time, Keep Calm and Employ On!
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