Penalties from the USCIS are Going Up Aug 1, 2016
Violations Associated with Form I-9
On May 4, 2016, USCIS published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register inviting public comment, for 60 days, on the proposed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule. The departments of Homeland Security and Justice & Labor have announced that they are upping the penalties for all violations for violations associated with Form I-9 and the hiring of undocumented workers who are not authorized to work in the U.S. In addition they are also increasing the damages for discriminating against immigrant workers.
Penalties assessed after Aug. 1, 2016, for violations that occurred after Nov. 2, 2015 will cover violations of the H-1B, H-2A and H-2B temporary visa foreign worker programs; the unlawful employment of immigrant workers; violations related to I-9 forms; and immigration-related discriminatory employment practices.
The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act, signed into law in November 2015, requires an initial catch-up adjustment followed by annual adjustments of the civil penalty amounts.
The most significant increase is for mistakes or omissions on the Form I-9. This will raise paperwork violations on Form I-9 from a minimum penalty of $110 to $216 per violation. This is very significant. Most companies in the U.S. have Form I-9 violations whether through careless transposing of numbers, failure to complete the Form I-9 in it’s entirety, or signature dates that are outside the parameters of the law.
Now more than ever it imperative that all companies, big or small, do an in house audit of their current Form I-9. Correct any error or omissions according the USCIS guidelines and make sure your onboarding process includes the proper and timely completion of the Form I-9.
Be sure to give your recruiting and hiring policies a thorough review. Train interviewers and hiring managers to avoid discriminating for discriminating against immigrant workers. The new penalty can be up to whopping of $3,563 per charge.
If your company uses temporary foreign workers be certain you’re up on the requirements for employing H-1B, H-2B and H-2A temporary visa foreign workers’ programs. Violations for these errors will be raised depending on the violations including specific violations of the H-1B program, such as misrepresentations on the labor condition application, violations pertaining to wages or working conditions, or for displacing a U.S. worker.
The penalty for displacing a U.S. worker with an H-1B worker will increase from $35,000 to $50,578 per violation. If you have any questions regarding the visa programs please be sure to speak with a qualified immigrations attorney.
To see the list of the increased fees and penalties and how to correct Form I-9 errors visit the USCIS website.
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