The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 requires U.S. employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of their employees and it created criminal and civil sanctions for employment related violations. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division enforces IRCA to ensure that U.S. employers abide by its provisions. ICE is targeting employers as well as individual executives, managers, and former managers who hired individuals not authorized to work in the U.S. Using an immigration lawyer can protect you from the legal implications of non-compliance.
Non-compliance with IRCA can result in heavy fines, forfeiture of company assets, and possible imprisonment. Employers determined to have knowingly hired or continued to employ unauthorized workers will be required by ICE to cease the unlawful activity, may be fined, and in certain situations may be criminally prosecuted. Penalties for knowingly hiring or continuing to employ violations range from $375 to $16,000 per violation, with repeat offenders receiving penalties, at the higher end. Penalties for substantive violations, such as failing to produce a Form I-9, range from $110 to $1,100 per violation.
Consulting with an experienced immigration lawyer throughout the process can protect you against liability and prevent future disputes. Your company can benefit from utilizing Barst Mukamal & Kleiner LLP’s I-9 employment eligibility verification services in several ways including reducing the time and labor spent verifying employment eligibility and maintaining files, minimizing the risk of potential government audits, and avoiding the possibility of legal penalties.
Form I-9 and E-Verify Procedures
IRCA designates the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 (Form I-9) as the means of documenting an employer’s verification of employees’ identity and employment eligibility. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity documents an employee presents to determine whether the documents reasonably appear to be genuine and relate to the individual and record the document information on the Form I-9.
An employer must complete a Form I-9 within 3 business days after employment begins. Employers are required to maintain original Forms I-9 for all current employees for inspection. For former employees, retention of Forms I-9 are required for at least 3 years from the date of hire or for 1 year after the employee is no longer employed, whichever is longer.
Many employers confirm the information listed on employees’ Form I-9 with E-Verify, a free Internet-based program operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The E-Verify program compares information from the Form I-9 to government records to confirm that an employee is authorized to work in the United States. The use of E-Verify is mandatory for employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause and employers in certain states.
E-Verify is currently voluntary for most employers. However, increasing state and federal regulations point towards E-Verify being required for all U.S. employers in the future. Therefore, it is critical for employers to ensure that their workforce is legally eligible to work in the U.S.
Exceptional Services in I-9 Compliance and Auditing
Whether you are hiring U.S. citizens, foreign nationals or permanent residents, our firm can help. Our firm has extensive experience in assisting clients with compliance and audit matters.
Barst Mukamal & Kleiner attorneys can advise and provide counsel on issues involving:
Contact Barst Mukamal & Kleiner for a Consultation with an Experienced Immigration Lawyer Regarding Your Workforce Immigration Issues
Ensuring compliance and avoiding unexpected audits are essential to protect your business against potential liability. If you have compliance or auditing issues, you can speak with a qualified immigration lawyer for assistance. Call or contact Barst Mukamal & Kleiner LLP online.