As of August 1, 2016, the DoJ has substantially increased the penalties associated with hiring people not legally authorized to work in the US, along with a host of other I-9 related violations. In other words, hiring illegal immigrants or filling in Form I-9 incorrectly, could get you and your company hit with stiff fines. Note that these new fines that took effect August 1st will retroactively apply to violations that occurred after November 2, 2015.
Don’t hire illegal aliens, but don’t discriminate against non-citizen job seekers.
Immigration, particularly illegal immigration, remains a hot topic in today’s turbulent political landscape. According to The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), employers are barred from hiring individuals, including undocumented aliens, who are not legally entitled to work in the United States. This does not, however, endorse discriminatory practices in the hiring process. Employers must tread carefully between lax hiring policies that result in the hiring of illegal labor while also not placing an undue burden on non-citizen job applicants. While simple in principle, this middle ground can be hard to identify in practice. Companies, for example, who require non-citizens to produce specific documents without similarly making the same request to US citizens are breaking the law and subject to fines.
Key penalty increases
- Knowingly hiring or employing unauthorized aliens will result in a minimum fine of $589 (previously $375) and a maximum fine of $4,313 (previously $3,200) per individual.
- Mistakes and omissions made in the I-9 paperwork will result in a minimum fine of $216 (previously $110) and a maximum fine of $2,156 (previously $1,100).
Unfair immigration-related employment practices (first order) will result in a minimum fine of $445 (previously $375) and a maximum fine of $3,563 (previously $3,200) per individual.
- Unfair immigration-related employment practices (document abuse) will result in a minimum fine of $178 (previously $110) and a maximum fine of $1,782 (previously $1,100) per individual.
- Willful H-1B violations pertaining to wages/working conditions, notification, labor condition application specificity, recruitment, or discrimination against an employee will result in a minimum fine of $178 (previously $110) and a maximum fine of $1,782 (previously $1,100) per violation.
- Employers should ensure that they have an I-9 compliance policy in place and that they are regularly conducting self-audits of their I-9s. Or, as many businesses have already done, outsource the paperwork (and the hassle) to a Professional Employer Organization (PEO). These third-party companies specialize in providing compliance and other HR-related services to businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Looking for a PEO? PEOs can help your company comply with federal hiring rules and help you conquer the bureaucratic red tape. Learn why PEO Broker is regarded as one of the top PEO companies in the industry. Take advantage of our complimentary PEO Evaluation.