In today’s business landscape, compliance plays a critical role in the success and sustainability of organizations. Surprisingly, a significant number of companies, both growing and shrinking, are at risk of failing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audits due to improper completion of I-9 forms.

In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the struggles companies face with I-9 compliance and the importance of implementing proper training for hiring managers and staff.

This data is from Asure’s 2023 HR survey of over 2,000 small businesses. Download your free copy here.

The Disturbing Statistics

Our survey revealed that one in five businesses are at risk of a failed ICE audit due to inadequate I-9 compliance practices. Regardless of their growth status, these companies neglect the essential training required to complete I-9 forms correctly.

HR Best Practices Gap

When examining HR best practices, a notable discrepancy emerges between high-performing companies and underperformers. Compliance, particularly with I-9 forms, proves to be a common challenge across the board.

Watch our video, How to Fill Out Form I-9: Compliantly Avoid Fines, Audits, and Stay in Compliance.

The Complexities of I-9 Forms

Training and Complexity

Despite the seemingly simple nature of the I-9 form, many companies struggle to complete it accurately. The fact that ICE conducts audits and identifies mistakes emphasizes the intricacies involved. Organizations must recognize the need for proper training to avoid costly fines.

Common Mistakes

Several common errors arise when completing I-9 forms. Failure to complete the form within the first three days of employment, neglecting to request physical identification documents, missing information, unsigned sections, and unauthorized alterations are some of the prevalent mistakes.

Training for I-9 Compliance

To ensure I-9 compliance, it is imperative to train every individual responsible for completing the forms. From HR professionals to hiring managers and supervisors, proper training is essential to avoid errors and penalties.

Key Training Areas

Effective I-9 training covers crucial aspects such as completing the form within the required timeframe, obtaining appropriate identification documents, accurately filling in all sections, avoiding unauthorized alterations, and recognizing expired forms.

The Importance of Compliance

Compliance with I-9 requirements mitigates the risk of failed audits and the subsequent financial and reputational damage. Companies that prioritize compliance safeguard their operations and maintain a positive image.

Building Trust and Confidence

Proper I-9 compliance demonstrates a commitment to legal and ethical practices. This commitment builds trust and confidence among employees, stakeholders, and customers, enhancing the organization’s overall reputation.

Holistic HR Practices

I-9 compliance is just one aspect of a comprehensive HR strategy. Establishing efficient processes, setting clear expectations, and nurturing a productive work environment are equally vital components that contribute to an organization’s success.

The Role of Orientation

Orientation sessions that incorporate Mission, Vision, and Values provide new hires with a deeper understanding of the company’s purpose and direction. By aligning employees with the organization’s core beliefs, engagement and productivity are enhanced.


The risks associated with improper I-9 compliance should not be overlooked. Companies must prioritize training and implement best practices to ensure accurate completion of these essential forms. By doing so, businesses can avoid failed ICE audits, maintain legal compliance, and build a culture of trust, ultimately contributing to their overall growth and success.

Learn how businesses are outsourcing their HR to Asure to speed up their growth.

Watch our video, Onboarding and Compliance Tips, where we analyze the data from our 2023 HR Survey.

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