When it comes to immigration enforcement, no employer is immune from immigration scrutiny. An organization that ignores problems with its procedures in this area is risking ruinous fines and penalties. You have an obligation to hire only workers who are legally authorized to work in the United States.
And enforcement in this area is on the rise. Investigators are constantly finding new ways to root out potential law violations.
For example, investigators have sometimes gotten around the requirement of giving employers 72 hours’ notice that their I-9 forms are going to be inspected by showing up at an employer’s premises without actually asking for the I-9s. Therefore, the notice requirement isn’t triggered.
Instead, they immediately begin interviewing employees to find out if your immigration documentation processes are lacking in any way.
For these reasons and many more, you need to make absolutely sure you’re in compliance with the law.
Immigration Enforcement: Employer Obligations
What are your immigration enforcement obligations as an employer? Which situations can create employer liability?
There are several ways employers can run afoul of their immigration enforcement obligations:
To avoid immigration-related violations, you need to:
Immigration Enforcement: What Are the Employer Penalties for Noncompliance?
What criminal and civil penalties do employers face if their immigration enforcement obligations are not met? Are there financial penalties for having incomplete I-9 forms?
The fines can add up quickly. Fines for an unauthorized worker range from $275 to $16,000 per worker. Even paperwork violations can add up in a hurry, at $110 to $1,100 for each I-9 form in violation.
Don’t miss our up-to-the-minute immigration compliance webinar, chock-full of practical tips and answers to your most pressing questions—this Thursday!
The Other Side of Immigration Enforcement: Immigration-Related Discrimination
With such high potential penalties, it’s almost understandable that employers may have the instinct to steer clear of hiring immigrants at all.
Obviously, though, this would result in unlawful discrimination against such individuals. There are four prohibited types of conduct under the Immigration and Nationality Act:
Employers have to strike a balance by only hiring authorized workers while being careful not to turn away someone for the wrong reasons. Tomorrow, an I-9 checklist that will help you make sure your procedures are both legally compliant and effective.
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Questions To Ask in an Interview: Interview Questions for Employers today!
This is just another of those areas where documentation is so, so critical. And training, of course--I think lack of training is probably behind immigration-related discrimination. Managers think they're being careful or even patriotic, but they're creating potential liability.