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Posts Tagged ‘OSC’

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

Friday, July 8th, 2016

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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.

 

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

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

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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

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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.

E-Verify Announces Major Proposed Changes

Friday, July 17th, 2015

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USCIS released details of proposed new changes to the E-Verify program on June 8, 2015 that were published this week.  The notice, found here, proposes several changes to E-Verify and seeks public comments until August 7, 2015 and links to new Q&A.   These changes will affect all employer users, including Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) contractors.

The three critical changes entail:

1)  Requirement that employers re-verify the continuing work authorization of employees within three “Employer” days of the expiration of the employee’s “last” grant of work authorization.

a)  This requirement tracks the current continuing duty of employers to re-verify expiring work authorization of employees in Section 3 of the I-9 form or, in the alternative, to complete a new I-9.

b)  This differs from the I-9 process in that the E-Verify time frame for re-verification of the employment authorization is three days after its expiration, whereby the I-9 regulations state that an employer re-verify the expiring work authorization of an employee on or before the day it expires. In E-Verify, the proposed process cannot be started until after the expiration of the employment authorization.

c)  The re-verification requirement extends to employees hired before an employer began participating in the E-Verify program. Thus, the proposed change would require that employers re-verify an employee’s expiring work authorization regardless of whether they have previously created an E-Verify case for that employee or not. This again differs from the current E-Verify program rules that explicitly prohibit an employer verifying the work authorization of employees hired before the employer began participating in the program (with the exception of FAR E-Verify employers).

2)  Requirement that employers print the re-verification confirmation page and retain it along with an employee’s I-9 records or record the E-Verify re-verification case number on the employee’s I-9 Form.

3)  Provides a process for employees to seek review of E-Verify Final-Nonconfirmations.

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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.

 

California New AB 60 Driver’s License: Is it Good for Employment Eligibility?

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

SSCard_iStock_000008528169_ExtraSmall (2)Since early 2015, qualified California residents have been able to apply for and receive a driver’s license issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles without proving that their presence in the United States is authorized under federal law.  All employers must accept the AB 60 driver’s license as a Form I-9 List B Identity document if the license reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the individual.  As with all permissible List B driver’s licenses, the AB 60 driver’s license must contain either a photograph or list the individual’s name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address. The AB 60 driver’s license only documents the employee’s identity; California employers must still examine a List C document that establishes employment authorization, such as a Social Security card or birth certificate.

 

View the Example of the AB-CA Driver’s License annotated with “Federal Benefits Apply”.

 

Electronic I-9 Form Soon to be Released

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

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At the Council for Global Immigration’s 2015 Symposium June 10, 2015 (ICE and OSC reps in attendance), it was announced that the I-9 form will help guide employers in filling them out correctly, with the goal being to prevent easily fixable errors such as not filling out required fields.  The soon-to-be-released form will have drop-down boxes and guides – but will not offer all of the features of electronic I-9 forms on the market… and will not connect with E-Verify, the government’s taxpayer-funded electronic employment verification system.

We will certainly continue to share the development of the launch of the electronic I-9 form – for sure – and are pleased to see USCIS continuing to provide additional compliance resources for US employers.

 

OSC Responds to E-Verify Concerns Regarding TX Executive Order RP-80

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

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The OSC responds to inquiry clarifying possible E-Verify conflict between the obligations that TX state contractors and certain TX state agencies have under federal E-Verify with the TX Executive Order RP-80 that requires state contractors use E-Verify for “all persons employed during the contract term to perform duties within TX”.

The OSC letter qualifies the following 2 issues:

1)  Whether TX state contractors (who are not federal contractors) may disregard the terms of RP-80 by choosing to E-Verify only new hires; and

2)  Whether a TX state agency may E-Verify current and prospective employees

USCIS has advised TX employers that federal E-Verify regulations are in effect at all times. Under federal E-Verify rules, most employers using E-Verify may only create E-Verify cases for new hires. Federal E-Verify rules provide an exception for employers enrolled in E-Verify as federal contractors. They must create cases in E-Verify for new hires and for existing employees performing work under the federal contract (if the employer has not already created a case for the employee), and may choose an option to create cases in E-Verify for all employees of the contractor.

 

E-Verify Records Retention and Disposal | I-9 Webinars On-Demand

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION

As of January 1, 2015, E-Verify will begin disposing of E-Verify records that are over 10 years old. In order to retain case information, E-Verify employers may download and save the new “Historic Records Report.”  If you want a record of your cases that are more than 10 years old, you must download the new Historic Records Report before December 31, 2014.  The report will include all transaction records for cases more than 10 years old.  The report is only available until December 31, 2014.

NOTE – this Report will ONLY BE AVAILABLE from October 1, through December 31, 2014.  The Fact Sheet provides more information as to how to proceed to download applicable E-Verify records.

If you were not using E-Verify on or before December 31, 2004, you do not need to download the report. There will be no records to report.  Note that E-Verify will continue this practice on an annual basis.

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USCIS Now Offering I-9 Webinars On-Demand

On September 25, 2014, USCIS published the first Form I-9 Webinar On – Demand. Now you can watch the free Form I-9 webinar at any time.
Choose the chapters of your choice or watch the entire 22 minute video in one sitting. You will see how to complete Sections 1, 2 and 3, best practices
and much more. It’s a great training tool. Visit I-9 Central to learn more and view other videos in the multi-media section.

Form I-9 Webinar on Demand | USCIS uscis.gov

 

Compliance Audits are Recommended for Employers at the Beginning of the New Year

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

SSCard_iStock_000008528169_ExtraSmall (2)DHS/ICE continues to issue Notices of Intent to Fine (NOFs) at an unprecedented rate for Form I-9 related infractions.  Mistakes occur in the I-9 process, it’s inevitable.  While establishing a written compliance policy, training and careful prevention is the best approach.  All employers should take time at the beginning of each year to conduct an internal audit and self-examination of their systems, operating procedures, and past and present practices for handling I-9s, as well as to access training needs for the employees charged with handling and supervising the I-9 process.  We also recommend that you review your E-Verify submissions, as well as revisiting just how compliant your I-9 software really is with your vendor if you are using an electronic system.

While there are many checklists and do-it-yourself guides and webinars available on the Internet and elsewhere, consulting a licensed attorney or specialist in the field who is familiar with I-9 and E-Verify compliance issues can save employers hours of research, provide a solution tailored to your organization, and save you thousands of dollars in fines and penalties should ICE knock on your door.

When ICE notifies an employer of their intention to perform an audit, it opens the door for an onslaught of inquiries and investigation from other government agencies that range from SSA mis-match issues to Department of Labor (DOL) wage and hour, USCIS, IRS, and more if you have areas of incompliance in your operating procedures.  This is not the time during an audit when under pressure to clean up compliance problems.

New employers are often more at risk because many are not even aware of the I-9 requirement, and probably are also unaware of the need for all employees to complete the I-9 Form.  Some are aware, but they lack knowledge concerning the regulations that govern the form; such as, timeframes, acceptable documents, form retention, and other important details that are integral to the process. Particularly, there are problems with industries such as IT consulting, healthcare, staffing agencies, and other organizations with multiple locations in regard to completing the I-9-Form remotely with the employer’s designated agent and employee in different locations.   

These are just a few reasons why we urge you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your present compliance program, and start the New Year fresh with a renewed commitment to implement best practices that will provide the foundation upon which you can develop and maintain a more compliant business and workforce.

You might be interested in joining our LinkedIn group, I-9/E-Verify: Smart Solutions for Employers,” and signing up to receive via RSS feed or email our Blog posts.

How to Contest an I-9 Notice of Intent to Fine (NOF)

Monday, November 11th, 2013

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While DHS/ICE continues to issue Notices of Intent to Fine (NOFs) at an unprecedented rate for Form I-9 related infractions, this is yet another reminder that you can choose to pay the fine or you can contest the fine and file for a  hearing (within 30 days of receipt of the NOF) before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who handles cases related to employer sanctions, document fraud and unfair immigration-related employment practices.  OCAHO has more than proven that they are willing to reassess and lower fees in just about every case in recent months.

Note that many employer sanctions cases never proceed to the hearing stage because either the parties reach a settlement with the approval of the ALJ, or the ALJ resolves a case through a prehearing ruling.

We recommend that your first step in the process be to retain experienced representation that specializes in the practice area of employer compliance to guide you step by step through the process – don’t attempt to go this alone. The next step is to understand the process that has been summarized very efficiently in the recent Fact Sheet that we refer to here

Should you have any questions or wish to become a client of our office, please contact us or refer to our services & solutions page.