Applicant tracking software is quickly becoming the wave of the future for employers navigating the Form I-9 process. With immigration being the focus of headlines nationwide, American businesses are feeling more pressure than ever to ensure they are Form I-9 compliant. To successfully achieve and maintain this status, employers are turning to resources like applicant tracking software.
What is Applicant Tracking Software?
Tracking software is a general term for a digital Form I-9 software program designed to facilitate and streamline the Form I-9 process for employers by digitizing content as well as minimizing common human error. Applicant tracking software programs are often utilized by companies to reduce the incidence of violations and penalties associated with being found noncompliant.
The Form I-9
The Form I-9 is a byproduct of the 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act and is a legal document which aids in establishing the identity and employment eligibility of individuals hired in the United States.
There are three main sections of the Form I-9, all of which must be completed accurately to be compliant.
Section1: This section is primarily the employee’s responsibility and should be completed by the first day of employment. Employers are responsible for ensuring that this section is completed in its entirety.
Section 2: The second section of the Form I-9 requires work on the employee’s and employer’s part. Within three days of the employee’s first day of work, he or she is required to provide the proper identification documents to the employer as dictated by the form. The employer is then responsible for carefully examining these documents in good faith to verify the authenticity of each document.
Section 3: This section of the form is typically completed by the employer if the employee has a change of name, a renewal of an expiring work authorization, or a rehire within three years of the date listed on the Form I-9.
Although the Form I-9 may sound simple in explanation, many employers find that it is more complex than meets the eye. Some of the most frequently asked questions about the Form I-9 generally include the following:
- Who needs to fill out a Form I-9? Employees who started working in the United States after 1986 are required to fill out a Form I-9 for the employer.
- What forms of ID are acceptable for an I-9? Employees should refer to the list of acceptable documents included in the Form I-9 literature.
- Can an I-9 be electronically signed? A digital Form I-9 can typically be electronically signed as long as the employer can attest to the required information.
- How do I complete an I-9 form? The form can generally be completed manually or via a digital software program as subject to Form I-9 guidelines and restrictions.
- When should an I-9 form be completed? Each section of the Form I-9 has unique deadlines for completion. Failure to complete each section in the required deadline may cause issues with being Form I-9 compliant.
Because of the document’s complexity, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services created a one hundred plus page manual to help employers better navigate the I-9 process.
In addition to this tool, companies are increasingly turning to applicant tracking software to ensure compliance. The software is designed to facilitate the Form I-9 procedure for employers while making the overall process more manageable and with less room for common error.
How Applicant Tracking Software Can Help The I-9 Process
Digital Form I-9 software was created to help employers minimize risk associated with the form and ultimately achieve compliance with the law. Although most digital I-9 software shares the same end goal, each may vary in some of the services provided.
Employers who enlist the help of applicant tracking software can generally expect the following benefits:
- Paperless Solutions. Employers using a digitized Form I-9 solution may benefit from a paperless process. This can be particularly helpful for those employers managing hiring at multiple locations.
- Advance Preparation. Generally, a checklist of sorts is provided for employees to review in advance of filling out the form so that they will understand exactly what information will be required. The software also generally provides employers with a checklist to stay on task.
- On-Boarding Assistance. From start to finish of the Form I-9, the software is designed to help employers complete the process with will check for common errors by searching for blank or incomplete fields and missing signatures, as well as alerting employers to upcoming deadlines.
- Document Tracking. These programs usually keep track of Form I-9 documents and help to alert employers before they expire and become problematic with I-9 compliance.
- Reporting On Demand. One of the benefits to using digital I-9 software is the expectation to pull reports as needed to enable periodic self-audits for I-9 compliance.
- E-Verify Interface. For those companies required or wishing to participate in E-Verify, digital I-9 software should work in tandem with the program to help auto-populate the system, take in E-Verify alerts and notifications, and notify employers about open cases.
- Audit Assistance. The digital software company an employer chooses should have the capability to provide potential auditors with specific operation and audit trail information. The software company should provide mass prints of Form I-9 records and attachments as required.
When choosing a digital I-9 software company, look for a company that has experience in providing excellent customer service, helping with troubleshooting, and guaranteeing timely responses.
Applicant tracking software can be instrumental in keeping companies I-9 compliant and therefore avoiding costly violation penalties such as expensive fines, loss of workforce, or even the loss of a business license. With so much at stake, being compliant is nonnegotiable for employers, and applicant tracking software may be the perfect solution.
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