Take note: as of August 1st, immigration violation fines are increasing significantly! An immigration violation means that you can be fined for employing an individual who is not granted ability to work in the US, or has displaced a US worker under an H1B violation. More so, the date is retroactive to Nov 2, 2015. Yup, think back to over a year ago.
What do they mean by violations?
- Form I-9 paperwork violations – Several things can cause Form I-9 violations. For starters, the inability to gather a complete Form I-9 with required documentation within 3 days of hire.
- Known unlawful hiring – You knew upon hire, or during employment that the individual is not granted the ability to work in the US, but you allowed them to work anyway.
- Document abuse – Requesting additional or different documentation than is required on the Form I-9, or rejecting documents appearing to be legitimate.
- Unfair immigration-related practices – Any practice that discriminates against citizenship or national origin.
- H1B Violations – These include knowingly displacing a US worker, not paying what is documented, and the list goes on.
What are the fines?
|Violation||Min. Fine||Max. Fine|
|Form I-9 paperwork||$216||$2,156|
|Known unlawful hiring – 1st offense||$539||$4,313|
|Known unlawful hiring – 2nd offense||—||$10,871|
|Known unlawful hiring – 3rd offense||—||$21,563|
|Unfair immigration-related practices||—||$17,816|
|H1B Violations knowingly displacing a US worker||$35,000||$50,758|
How to avoid these fines?
- Know the laws! Conduct research and consult with a professional.
- Verify your practices are compliant. Require all paperwork to be filled out per instructions, reviewed, and filed properly.
- Follow the same process for all employees. Operate in good faith and do not discriminate.
The fines are increasing so US workers are not left unemployed in lieu of hiring a non US citizen who is not granted the ability to work. Cheaper, undocumented employees should stop! The fines are also increasing to reduce the risk of discrimination based on citizenship and national origin.
Understanding the laws and operating in good faith is the best for all employers. For Form I-9 purposes, you are not required to send anything to the government. Therefore, it is your company’s duty to review the documentation given. If it looks legitimate, you should be OK. The E-Verify option can assist you in verifying eligibility of employment in the US. However, many employers are not required to use this services. It is best to check with your state to understand which companies, if any, are required to use E-Verify.