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Marsha T. Mavunkel, Attorney, Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC

Health Care Organizations: Are You Prepared for an I-9 Audit?

By Marsha T. Mavunkel
Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC

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Original Publish Date: September 13, 2016

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has focused on creating a ‘culture of compliance’ by heavily relying on I-9 inspections to find and fine employers who do not follow immigration laws regarding employment eligibility verification. Immigration law (8 U.S.C. § 1324a (b)) requires organizations to verify the employment eligibility of each employee by completing and maintaining Form I-9.

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit can audit any health care organization on a random basis or by following a lead from the public, other businesses, disgruntled employees at the workplace, or through tips from other government agencies. The number of businesses subjected to I-9 audits has soared from a couple hundred less than 10 years ago to thousands today. HSI continues to issue Notices of Intent to Fine (NOFs) at an unprecedented rate for Form I-9 related violations.

It is imperative to know your rights if you are confronted with an I-9 audit. If ICE appears to review your I-9 forms and conduct an audit, insist on a written Notice of Inspection and your right to have three business days before you turn over your original I-9 forms.

Be prepared by conducting a self-audit of your I-9s now and create and maintain a culture of compliance within your business. Hire knowledgeable counsel to conduct an internal I-9 audit and self-examination of your systems, operating procedures, and present practices for handling I-9s.

I-9 Audit Basics—What to Expect:

Best Practice Tips for Health Care Organizations:

Resources for I-9 Questions:

Marsha T. Mavunkel is an attorney in Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC’s Immigration Group. Marsha can be reached at 206-654-2253 or mavunkel@ryanlaw.com.