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Posts Tagged ‘I-9/E-Verify’

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

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

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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.

Changes to Business-related Immigration Under Trump’s Administration

Saturday, November 19th, 2016

By:  Allison McDonnell, ICG Content Coordinator

The US President's home at 1600 Pennsylvania Av, Washington DC.

President-elect, Donald Trump, will take office as the United State’s 45th president on January 20, 2017.  Trump ran his presidential campaign from a clear anti-immigration platform.  His ten-point plan, which includes limiting legal immigration, could have substantial effects on business immigration in the U.S.  However, it is still too soon to tell exactly which stances Trump’s administration will, or will be able to, follow through on.  Changes on the business-related immigration side are likely to come in incremental stages and later on, as his first priority will be undocumented immigrants with criminal records.

H-1B Visa Program

Throughout his campaign, Trump spoke out against the H-1B visa program, arguing that it is an abused process used to replace American workers with cheap labor.  He claimed several times that his intentions are to end the program completely.  However, experts say that the program will more than likely not be eradicated, but simply reformed.  For one, Trump, himself, understands the value of high tech global talent.  In addition, the fact that he desires a strong relationship with India, whose tech workers are among the largest group of beneficiaries of the H-1B program, will likely keep him from abolishing the program all together.  With popularity of reform from several congressmen and Trump’s base, it is likely that smaller caps and more stringent qualifications will be imposed.

E-1 and E-2 Treaty Trader and Investor Visas

Trump has been less vocal about planned changes to employment-based visas outside of the H-1B visa.  While it is likely that Trump will make major reforms to the H-1B program, we could also see some changes to the E-1 and E-2 visa classifications, given that they are increasingly the second-best option behind the H-1B visa for many immigrants.  For one, a tougher application of legal standards in immigration court and in consular processing may be applied to all visa categories.  In addition, caps could be implemented, which may be country-specific.  However, since a key part of the E-2 visa program is job creation, it could quite possibly go the other way, with the category growing in number.

Employment Eligibility Verification:  I-9 and E-Verify Programs

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.

In Closing

Although it is still too soon to tell precisely which of Trump’s campaign promises he will have the time, resources, or support to follow through on, it is a good idea to be informed and alert to the timing and the next steps required concerning your immigration matters and remain proactive, both as an employer and employee.  If you haven’t moved forward on a viable case, we would recommend that you meet with immigration counsel to prepare for the upcoming months under the new administration.  You can contact our office here.

 

DOJ issues interim final rule increasing fines 35-96% for employing unauthorized workers

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Searching for a Niche Group - Magnifying Glass

This rule implements as an inflation adjustment fines for employing unauthorized workers for Form I-9 paperwork violations, and for immigration-related discrimination. These new fines increase the penalties from 35% to 96% depending on the nature and severity of the violation.

We encourage you to review your policies, procedures and your Form I-9 inventory.  Remember, the key to defending any employment related investigation is to evidence that there is and has been a consistent pattern of responsible, good faith effort on the part of the employer in establishing a compliant workforce.

Refer here for the details.

 

ICE Releases New Fact Sheet on the I-9 Inspection Process

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Searching for a Niche Group - Magnifying GlassWe have written many articles over the years on what happens when ICE serves an employer with a Notice of Inspection (NOI); see below for links to our articles and resources.  Today, ICE released a new Fact Sheet that referrences the  IRCA law in the 1st paragraph, and then summarizes the order in which an ICE administrative inspection proceeds, the types of notices that are issued following an I-9 ICE audit, how fines are determined based upon knowingly hiring and continuing to employ violations, to substantive and uncorrected techical violations, and how these fines and penalties are calculated.

The penalties for ignoring the legal requirements of the I-9 process can be quite severe, even in cases of unintentional omissions and uncorrected I-9 mistakes. Civil penalties for such errors may range from $110 to $1,100 for each effected employee. A business with thousands of employees and multiple worksites may face a significant financial burden in noncompliance penalties. The fines may be further increased if ICE determines that an employer knowingly hired unauthorized foreign nationals, and can range from $375 to $16,000 per violation with repeat offenders on the high end. Employers and their representatives convicted of having engaged in a pattern or practice of knowingly hiring unauthorized foreign nationals, may also face criminal charges and fines of up to $3,000 per employee and/or six months’ imprisonment. Other federal criminal statues may provide higher penalties in certain fraud cases.

Employers and individuals who commit citizenship status or national origin discrimination may be ordered to pay civil fines and attorneys’ fees. The penalties range from $375 to $3,200 for the first offense for each individual discriminated against; from $3,200 to $6,500 for the second offense; and for subsequent offenses, not less than $4,300 and not more than $16,000 for each person effected.

The trend toward increased scrutiny of immigration employment practices will likely continue in the foreseeable future. With immigration reform still uncertain, ICE continues to step up enforcement activities with a deluge of NOI’s to employers every few months.  These recent developments have made it even more critical that employers maintain a strong immigration compliance profile.  Employers can no longer afford to think that because they don’t hire foreign nationals, they don’t have any I-9 issues or need to comply with I-9 immigration regulations.

The key to I-9 compliance for most organizations starts with a thorough self-examination of existing paper I-9’s, E-Verify submissions (if applicable), standard operating procedures, and past practices. While there are many checklists and do-it-yourself guides, free webinars and Podcasts available on the Internet and elsewhere, consulting an experienced immigration consultant or attorney in the practice area can save employers hours of research, provide a solution tailored to your organization and save you thousands of dollars in fines and penalties.

You should strongly consider an independent I-9 audit if…

  1. You’ve had a turnover in the HR position(s) charged with the responsibility of handling and processing I-9 Forms
  2. None of the staff charged with the I-9 process has been formally trained
  3. You already know that you have I-9 document violations, errors and unintentional mistakes
  4. You have recently gone through a corporate reorganization, merger or acquisition
  5. You know you have an on-boarding process that is complex, such as multiple jobsite locations where the I-9 process takes place
  6. When you haven’t documented your I-9 Form policies and procedures in a policy statement or procedures manual
  7. If you have a large volume of foreign worker I-9 forms
  8. If you do not have a calendar system for re-verification or terminated employee retention
  9. If you do not have a centralized I-9 recordkeeping process
  10. If you are photocopying documents presented during the I-9 process for some and not for others
  11. You participate in government contracts and have been asked to perform an I-9 audit
  12. You have not performed a random or full audit within the last year by either an internal individual who is familiar with I-9 compliance rules but does not deal with I-9s on a regular basis, or by a reputable independent I-9 auditor.
  13. You’ve never performed a self-audit or had any outside provider perform an I-9 audit
  14. You do not know how to make corrections to the I-9 form
  15. You’ve received SSA No Match Letters
  16. Your industry is being targeted by ICE
  17. You’re unaware that a new I-9 form was released and do not have a process in place for staying current with regulations and procedures

Immigration Compliance Group regularly represents clients from all industries to develop effective I-9 policies and compliance programs.  By establishing and maintaining effective corporate policies and procedures, many of the above-mentioned warning signs can be addressed proactively in an audit before the government does one for you.

New ICE Fact Sheet

I-9Audit.com – Our Employer Resource Center Articles

 

 

 

 

 

E-Verify Releases New TNC Enhancements

Monday, September 9th, 2013

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USCIS has gone ‘live’ day with a new TNC communication process. The highlight of the latest enhancement is the combining of the TNC Notice and Referral Letter into one document – the Further Action Notice.

The Further Action Notice simplifies the TNC communication process by combining the employee’s biographical information, the reason for the TNC, the employee’s decision to contest, and employee instructions for contesting a TNC into a single document.  There will also be fewer screens to click through.

Here is a chart that provides the action that needs to be taken in various different TNC scenarios — very helpful, as well as a Further Action Notice sample, and a new email notification that will be sent to employees when their cases are referred to SSA or DHS.