In our recent research, we’ve learned a lot about how employers are preparing (or not preparing) for immigration audits. Here are some ways you can prepare for an immigration audit:
How to prepare for an immigration audit
There are a number of ways to prepare for an immigration audit. At a minimum, employers should:
- Know how to prepare for a site audit
- Ensure Form I-9 compliance
- Maintain accurate and compliant public access files
- Be tracking global employees
Know how to prepare for a site audit
In our 2018 Immigration Trends Report, we discovered that 42 percent of employers experienced a site visit last year from immigration authorities. Another 12 percent say they haven’t had a site visit, but that they are concerned.
It is crucial to know how to prepare for a site audit in case the immigration authorities arrive unannounced. Though site visits can be intimidating, ensuring the legitimacy of the worksite is just one part of how you can prepare for an immigration audit. A larger focus of an audit pertains to documentation.
Ensure Form I-9 compliance
Hundreds of people were arrested during ICE sweeps throughout the U.S. last year and efforts to ensure the legitimacy of foreign national workers are ongoing. The Trump administration hired an additional 10,000 immigration enforcement agents last year, an increase that has likely raised the chances of an employer experiencing an ICE site visit.
All employers are required to ensure Form I-9 compliance by maintaining accurate documentation for every employee – foreign nationals and U.S. citizens alike. Discrepancies in the accuracy, collection or storage of these forms could raise red flags for ICE authorities.
Maintain accurate and compliant public access files
Documentation collection and accuracy can be some of the most challenging tasks of the entire immigration process. During the application process for H-1B visas, for example, finding and keeping the right supporting documentation on hand is becoming more critical. This is especially relevant after new USCIS numbers revealed that requests for evidence increased by 45 percent from 2016 to 2017.
But it’s not just the visa application process that requires pristine documentation storage and organization procedures. The process for creating and storing public access files for H-1B employees is meticulous. It could also become essential should the authorities decide to take a closer look into your employee’s documentation to check for compliance. With that in mind, however, our Changing Landscape of Immigration Management Report found that only 32 percent of employers are managing employee status changes and maintaining public access files compliantly.
Be tracking global employees
Anytime a foreign national employee crosses international borders, they could face travel restrictions or other documentation issues. This means up-to-date documentation is essential. And properly tracking global employees could mean the difference between compliance and non-compliance.
Understanding answers to questions like when visas need to be renewed or what documentation is needed is important. And knowing employees’ intended business travel before they go gives you the chance to review documentation and make sure everything is order. Taking that time to check for missed renewal deadlines or travel restrictions, for example, could make all the difference.
Learn about other global mobility concerns we found in our 2018 Immigration Trends Report. Then contact us to learn how Envoy can help your company proactively maintain compliance and prepare for an immigration audit.
Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-retained attorney or another qualified professional.