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Posts Tagged ‘Employer Compliance’

California Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450) Implements Employer Fees & Penalties

Monday, February 19th, 2018

Searching for a Niche Group - Magnifying GlassThis new California law imposes significant fines and penalties between $2,000 and $10,000 per violation on employers or any persons acting on behalf of employers who voluntarily consent to informal inspection demands and site visits by immigration officials. The new law requires employers to refuse entry to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) agents or other unspecified “immigration enforcement officials” who request access to non-public areas of the employer’s worksite or who seek to inspect the employer’s records, unless the federal officials present the employer with a valid subpoena or judicial warrant.

An example of providing “voluntary” consent to enter a nonpublic area could be freely asking or inviting an immigration enforcement agent to enter that area. This could be indicated by words and/or by the act of freely opening doors to that area for the agent, for instance.

It is seriously clear that this needs to be a training point for all employees that interact with outside visitors to the office.  We also recommend that actual policy be implemented by California employers and documented in employee handbooks and manuals with very specific processes and procedures to outlined to follow.

The California Labor Commission and Attorney General have released the following guidance and FAQs to assist employers in complying with the law.

Immigration Compliance Group are experts in US business-related immigration and Form I-9 Employer Compliance issues.

 

 

New 2018 California Law: Employers prohibited from asking job applicants about salary

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

Under California’s new law, Labor Code Section 432.3, employers may not ask, either orally or in writing, for a job applicant’s compensation or other elements regarding a compensation package such as benefits. In addition, an employer cannot rely on an applicant’s past salary as a factor in determining whether to offer employment or in determining what salary to offer. Lastly, the new law requires employers to provide, “upon reasonable request,” the “pay scale” for the applicable position.

TJobs_iStock_000016785771XSmall (2)o comply with this law, employers should remove questions regarding salary history from job applications and other hiring materials, such as template interview forms. In addition, employers should counsel their internal recruiters, interviewers and others involved in the hiring process about these new obligations to ensure they avoid asking questions about an applicant’s salary history. Employers interested in gauging the market rate for a position or an applicant’s salary expectation should plan to replace salary history questions with questions about an applicant’s desired salary.  Note that nothing in the law, however, prohibits prospective employees from voluntarily revealing their salary history during an interview.

For more on this, refer here. We will continue to advise on new information pertaining to the application of this law

New Year brings new immigration and employment laws for California

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

NEWS_dreamstime_s_36930151 (2)Starting January 1, 2018, a variety of new laws will go into effect for California – immigration, employment, marijuana, and more.  We will focus on the new employment and immigration laws.

Employment – Minimum wage: The minimum wage is going up to $11/hour for businesses that employ 26 or more employees, thus the minimum annual salary for exempt employees under California law will increase from $43,680 to $45,760.  For California employees of employers with 25 employees or less, the minimum wage will increase from $10 per hour to $10.50 per hour. Thus, for employers with 25 employees or less, the minimum annual salary for exempt employees under California law will increase from $41,600 to $43,680.  Please refer to the attached for more on the new Parent Leave Act, new employer hiring practices, harrassment prevention training, and more.

Immigration and I-9 Eligibility Checks:  AB 450 – Restrictions on Employer Cooperation with Federal Immigration Enforcement Authorities and I-9 Eligibility Checks

AB 450 creates four new provisions, two in the Government Code and two in the Labor Code. The new law bars employers from giving consent to immigration enforcement officers without a warrant to enter any non-public areas of the workplace, except as required by federal law. Only the Labor Commissioner or the California Attorney General may enforce this provision.

In a statement accompanying introduction of the bill, the author stated:

“Trump’s threats of massive deportations are spreading fear among California workers, families, and employers.  AB 450 declares California’s determination to protect our economy and the people who are working hard to contribute to our communities and raise their families in dignity.  I’m proud to author this legislation which goes beyond California’s existing defense of immigrants to offer new legal protections for individuals in our workplaces.  At the same time, AB 450 offers employers clarity about what to do when ICE agents target their places of business with indiscriminate raids.”

Further, employers may not voluntarily consent to immigration enforcement officials’ warrantless or non-subpoenaed requests to access, view or obtain the employer’s employee records, except as authorized by federal law. This prohibition does not apply to I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms or other forms for which a Notice of Inspection has been provided. Within 72 hours of receiving a Notice of Inspection, an employer must provide each current employee notice of the inspection.  Employers must also provide notices to each “current affected employee” — defined as those who are “identified by the immigration agency inspection results to be an employee who may lack work authorization, or an employee whose work authorization documents have been identified by the immigration agency inspection to have deficiencies.” This notice must be provided to the affected employee by hand within 72 hours of the employer’s receipt of a written immigration agency notice containing the results of any I-9 or employment record inspection. Additionally, employers may not re-verify the employment eligibility of a current employee at a time or in a manner not required by federal law.  These new provisions carry with them fines and civil penalties ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 for the first violation and $5,000 to $10,000 for subsequent violations.

For more information on other laws going into effect in California s of January 1, 2018, refer here

Should you wish more information concerning Form I-9 Employer Compliance, visit our Employer Resource Center

New I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form, Effective Sept. 18, 2017

Monday, July 17th, 2017

I-9+Website+High+res+Logo_x625[1]USCIS released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, on July 17. Instructions for how to download Form I-9 are available on the Form I-9 page. On Sept. 18th, employers must use the revised form with a revision date of 07/17/17N. Employers must continue following existing storage and retention rules for any previously completed Form I-9s.

Revisions to the Form I-9 instructions:

  • USCIS changed the name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.
  • They removed “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment.”

Revisions related to the List of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9:

  • Added the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) to List C. Employers completing Form I-9 on a computer will be able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus available in List C of Sections 2 and 3. E-Verify users will also be able to select Form FS-240 when creating a case for an employee who has presented this document for Form I-9.
  • Combined all the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) into selection C #2 in List C.
  • Renumbered all List C documents except the Social Security card. For example, the employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security on List C changed from List C #8 to List C #7.

USCIS included these changes in the revised Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274), which is also easier for users to navigate.

Should you have any questions or would like to discuss how your company can establish a culture of compliance, please contact us at info@immigrationcompliancegroup.com

I-9/E-Verify: Q&A – AILA Verification Committee Mtg w/USCIS Verification & ICE Homeland Security Investigation

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-questions-answers-image5665970

Clarification between Hiring site and worksite (page 5 at link)
E-Verify defines a “hiring site” as “the location where employees are hired and where they complete Form I-9.”

E-Verify further states that a “participating hiring site means that an employer will create an E-Verify case for every newly hired employee who is hired and
completes a Form I-9 at that site.”

Lastly, when an employee is hired remotely and visits a third party employer agent to complete Form I-9, for E-Verify purposes, the “hiring site” is the location of the third party employer agent where the Form I-9 was completed, not the home of the employee.

For all Q&A, refer here

 

Penalties for I-9 Violations: What you need to know

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

One group of customers standing on a red target bullseye, with magnifying glass hovering above it

The DOJ announced in August 2016 that it was making significant increases to the schedule of fines imposed for various violations including those associated with compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (“IRCA”) imposed sanctions on employers; namely:

Form I-9 Paperwork Violations:
Previous fine per Form I-9 violation: $110 to $1,100
Fine effective August 1, 2016 per Form I-9 Violation: $216 to $2,126

Unlawful Employment of Unauthorized Workers:
First Offense
Previous fine, per worker: $375 to $3,200
Fine effective August 1,2016 per worker: $539 to $4,313
Second Offense
Previous fine per worker: $3,200 to $6,500
Fine effective August 1, 2016, per worker: $4,313 to $10,781
Subsequent Offenses
Previous fine, per worker: $4,300 to $16,000
Fine effective August 1, 2016, per worker: $6,469 to $21,563

Unfair Immigration-Related Practices
First Order
Previous fine, per worker: $375 to $3,200
Fine effective August 1, 2016, per worker: $445 to $3,563 (however repeat offenders could face new maximum penalty of $21,563 per worker.)

These fines also increase per subsequent order and frequent offenders may face a maximum fine of $17,816 per worker.

As reported in one of our previous blog posts concerning employment verification under a Trump Administration:

Considering employment draws immigrants to the United States, it is likely that we will see stricter enforcement of the Form I-9 verification process under Trump’s presidency.  Starting next year, there will likely be more ICE officers and immigration judges hired to expedite cases.  This increase in staff may lead to an increase in the number of worksite inspections for I-9 compliance.  It is also possible that there will be an increase in penalties and fines for any violations uncovered.  Therefore, it is important for employer’s to ensure that their paperwork, policies, and practices are in order in case of an audit.  Given that Trump may overturn President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA), employers also need to be aware of which of their current foreign-born employees may become immediately undocumented and take proper action.

Trump has consistently applauded the E-Verify process for its systematic ability to filter out unauthorized employment.  In his position paper on immigration, he would mandate that the E-Verify process be used across the U.S.  Although, Trump will likely meet the same resistance as Congress has in the past, when it tried and failed several times to implement mandatory E-Verify.  That being true, Trump may still be able to strengthen or increase the program through unilateral executive orders.

BREAKING NEWS —————-NEW I-9 FORM RELEASED 11/14/2016

Monday, November 14th, 2016

i9banner-image

On Nov. 14, 2016 USCIS released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  Employers may continue using Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/2013N  through Jan. 21, 2017.  By Jan. 22, 2017, employers must use the revised form.

Employers should continue to follow existing storage and retention rules for all of their previously completed Forms I-9. Refer here for more information.

Remember to login to our webinar on Wednesday Nov. 16th, 3pm EST/12pm PST for training on the new I-9 form:  http://www.immigrationcompliancegroup.com/webinars2016/ and save the date for the E-Verify webinar as well on December 15, 2016.

 

 

OSC & ICE Publish Guidance to Employers on Internal I-9 Audits

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image12707143

The Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have issued a six-page joint Guidance for Employers Conducting Internal Form I-9 Audits that can be viewed here:  http://www.justice.gov/crt/file/798276/download

This guidance is a result of a six-month intra-agency initiative to foster greater cooperation across government agencies in the I-9 audit space. The group overseeing this initiative, entitled the Interagency Working Group for the Consistent Enforcement of Federal Labor, Employment and Immigration Laws, is tasked with improving the effectiveness of investigations by ICE and the OSC.

For more

 

 

Recent DOJ Worksite Enforcement Settlements that Shed Light on Form I-9 Employer Compliance

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

One group of customers standing on a red target bullseye, with magnifying glass hovering above it

Plain and simple, failing to comply with IRCA’s I-9 rules have, and are continuing at a rapid rate, to result in significant fines, loss of access to government contracts, an onslaught of negative publicity, business closure, criminal penalties and even imprisonment.  Here are a few examples of recently settled cases in August 2015:

1) Creating discriminatory barriers for immigrants who have permission to work in the United States, $165 civil penalty with $50K in back pay:
http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-settles-discrimination-claim-against-louisiana-crane-construction

2) Requiring non-U.S. citizens, but not similarly-situated U.S. citizens, to present specific documentary proof of their immigration status to verify their employment eligibility, $200K civil penalty: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-settles-immigration-related-discrimination-claim-against-nebraska-based

3) City of Eugene, OR improperly restricted law enforcement positions to U.S. citizens at the time of hire, even though no law, regulation, executive order or government contract authorized such a restriction. must pay a civil penalty, train its employees about the anti-discrimination provision of the INA and be subject to monitoring by the Justice Department for a period of three years!
http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-settles-citizenship-discrimination-claim-against-city-eugene-oregon

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Immigration Compliance Group provides US inbound immigration services to individuals and employers throughout the USA and abroad. We specialize in business immigration and have a depth of experience in the IT, healthcare, arts, entertainment and sports industries, amongst others. Our services include complex business visas for investors, multinational managers, skilled professionals, outstanding individuals of high achievement (O-1, P visas, EB-1 and EB-2 Exceptional Ability cases) and PERM Labor Certification.  We additionally provide employer compliance consulting services on proper I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) management, auditing, training, and work with our clients to develop a culture of immigration compliance. Our door is open for new clients — we extend a 20% discount on the first case with our firm.  Contact us at info@immigationcompliancegroup.com or call 562 612.3996.

New Social Security Card Process to Commence Sept 9, 2015

Monday, August 24th, 2015
SSCard_iStock_000008528169_ExtraSmall (2)
The new rule provides SSA and the public with different options for verifying an applicant’s identity and other eligibility factors, noting that it will continue to require the same evidence to establish citizenship, age and identity. The new rule will also remove the requirement that individuals seeking a replacement SSN card file an SS-5 form, allowing them instead to complete a “prescribed application,” which the agency said would simply be the application form — whether paper, online or another efficient, user friendly method.  Additionally, the SSA will release, through a gradual, state-by-state rollout, an online application that will permit adult U.S. citizens who are not reporting any changes to their record to apply for replacement SSN cards electronically after registering through the my Social Security” portal.
 
How will this change procedures for processing the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form?   The article states that employers are likely to find more rapid turnaround should employees lack a lost or misplaced social security card requiring reissuance. USCIS Form I-9 permits employers to initiate employment, in most instances, if hired employees can verify within three (3) days employment eligibility through the documentary requirements of USCIS Form I-9, including presentation of a valid social security card under “List C” of Form I-9.
 
– See more here
 
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Immigration Compliance Group provides US inbound visa services to individuals and employers throughout the USA and abroad. We specialize in business immigration and have a depth of experience in the IT, healthcare, arts, entertainment and sports industries, amongst others. Our services include complex business visas for investors, multinational managers, skilled professionals, outstanding individuals of high achievement and PERM Labor Certification. We additionally provide employer compliance consulting services on proper I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) management, auditing, training, and work with our clients to develop a culture of immigration compliance.