The federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (“IRCA”) states that every employer is required to verify the identity and work authorization status of every employee of the business. This I-9 compliance regulation is critical for all Colorado employers and those across the US. Failure to comply with IRCA’s I-9 rules can result in significant fines, loss of access to government contracts and highly negative publicity for a company.
In 2007, Colorado imposed additional rules pertaining to verification of authorized workers for Colorado employers. Employers must familiarize themselves with these changes in order to avoid being penalized. Understanding the new rules is vital to all workplaces. If not clear on the implications of I-9 and employer compliance for your organization, contact an experienced Denver Immigration Lawyer for clarification.
Federal law requires that all employers have new employees fill out a form known as the I-9 as a result of the Immigration and Reform Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). This form has to be filled out within three days of hire, and noncompliance comes with legal and possibly financial repercussions. The state of Colorado adds another layer onto the federal I-9 with an “Affirmation” statement, beginning in January 2008.
Changes October 2012
On October 1, 2012, Colorado employers are required to use an updated affirmation form that is dated 09/06/12. No other form is acceptable from now on. It cannot also be used for all employees hired before September 6, 2012. This form is to be used for all new hires between October 1, 2012 and October 1, 2014.
The law requires that the form is completed within 20 days after each employee is hired, and the employer is the one who is responsible for filling out the form. All of the required fields must be completed properly, leaving nothing blank.
The employer files does not have to send it in to the state of Colorado. The employer does, however, have to present the form if it is ever requested by agents of the state.
Employees Requiring Forms
So just who need forms and who doesn’t?
All employees require I-9 forms with the following exceptions:
- Potential employees
- Independent contractors
- Persons transferring within a company
- Rehired employees that have resumed work within three years of completing the initial form 1-9.
All employees with extended absence must resume work within three years of completing the initial form 1-9. Employees do not require I-9 forms under following conditions:
- Paid or unpaid leave (such as for illness or a vacation)
- Temporary lay-off
- Absence due to strike or labor dispute
- Gaps between seasonal employment
Ramifications of Non-Compliance
Colorado businesses most likely find these requirements annoying and a waste of time, but not complying is a risk that could be detrimental or even catastrophic to your business. One must work towards simplifying the process in order to make the record keeping a matter of minutes instead of hours and to ensure that everything is done in a timely manner.
Because the form is kept by the employer, the burden is on it to make sure each employee file contains a completed I-9 form. If you need assistance with auditing your existing files or if you have questions about the I-9 requirements or the Colorado requirements, contact a Denver immigration lawyer for clarification and guidance for such compliance.