Every Employer Must Read This ~
Many small businesses employ legal permanent residents or refugees with various forms of identification documentation and that possess work authorization in the United States. It is common for small businesses to think compliance with current immigration and employment law means verifying work authorization status only for employees that possess foreign documentation or employment authorization cards. NOT TRUE. Employers are required to complete Form I-9 for all employees which provides the company with the ability to verify that their new hire has work authorization in the U.S.
Employers are required by law to maintain original Forms I-9 for all current and former employees for a period of three years from the date of hire or for one year after the employee is no longer employed, whichever is longer. Penalties can be imposed even when the employee is a United States citizen and does not require work authorization.
ICE Could Impose Steep Penalties
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) inspects and audits I-9s and then notifies the business of its compliance or deficiencies. In most cases, ICE gives the business an opportunity to resolve deficiencies. On rare occasions, ICE will issue a Notice of Intent to Fine. Penalties for knowingly hiring and continuing to employ violations range from $375 to $16,000 per violation, with repeat offenders receiving greater penalties. Penalties for substantive violations, which includes failing to produce a Form I-9, range from $110 to $1,100 per violation.
In determining penalty amounts, ICE considers five factors: the size of the business, good faith effort to comply, seriousness of violation, whether the violation involved unauthorized workers, and history of previous violations.
If a Notice of Intent to Fine is issued (NIF), a charging document is included detailing the charges against the business and delineating a fine according to a predetermined schedule. Fines are based on the number of violations versus the total employees.
If ICE contacts you about an audit you need to contact a competent Immigration Attorney as soon as possible.
Vincent Martin heads the Immigration Group at Cundy & Martin, LLC.
Phone: (952) 746-41211