What is the purpose of the I-9?

When an employer hires a person for employment they’re responsible for making sure the employee completes the U.S. government’s I-9 form, which they then retain.

The I-9’s purpose is to verify an employee’s identity and to establish that the worker is eligible to accept employment in the United States.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) requires employers to verify that all newly hired employees present “facially valid” documentation verifying the employee’s identity and legal authorization to accept employment in the United States. The I-9 form (also known as the Employment Eligibility Verification Form) is provided by the federal government for that purpose.

Every employee hired after November 6, 1986 must complete an I-9 form at the time of hire. Employees must complete Section 1 of the form at the actual beginning of employment. The employer must complete Section 2 within three days of starting work.

Some companies in the trucking industry, which has a shortage of workers, may be inclined to hire unauthorized aliens or continue to employ aliens knowing that they are unauthorized to work in the United States. If they are “found out,” these companies may be fined up to $3,000 per unauthorized employee. The government wants the trucking industry to follow its strict rules for employment eligibility.

Trucking companies who want to employ foreign workers must verify that the driver is qualified under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (“FMCSA”). The FMCSA sets standards and rules governing nearly every aspect of the operation of commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce and these regulations apply to all employers, employees, and drivers of commercial motor vehicles.

Here’s the bottom line: if a trucking company has its 1-9’s in order and everyone employed is legal/following the rules, they should be fine. If not, problems will ensue.