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This presentation describes the various ways that the immigration process can come under audit by various administrative agencies of the U.S. Government. Specifically, the H-1B process, the I-9 Form …

This presentation describes the various ways that the immigration process can come under audit by various administrative agencies of the U.S. Government. Specifically, the H-1B process, the I-9 Form process (IRCA) and the PERM process can all be audited by administrative agencies and employers can be found to be responsible to pay penalties for violations. This presentation was developed in connection with a program to be given by David H. Nachman, Esq. in Tokyo, Japan, on April 22nd, 2010. Please see the Visaserve Website for details . . . www.visaserve.com.


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  • 1. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS: WHAT EMPLOYERS NEED TO KNOW Presented by: David S. Sindell, Esq. David H. Nachman, Esq.
  • 2. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • There are three potential “hot spots” for audits and investigations by government entities in the U.S. related to the immigration and nationality laws.
      • 1. The H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa.
      • 2. The Immigration Reform and Control Act (I-9 Forms).
      • 3. Permanent Electronic Records Management (The PERM Labor Certification Process).
  • 3. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • Each of the foregoing government programs anticipates compliance through an “audit”.
    • Even a basic understanding of the complex documents for each of these programs can help an employer and an employee avoid liabilities.
    • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (and other agencies) place emphasis on enforcement by fining non-compliant employers.
  • 4. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • Several U.S. Government Agencies involved to ensure compliance with U.S. immigration laws:
      • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
      • The U.S. Department of Labor.
      • The U.S. Department of State.
      • The Internal Revenue Service.
      • The U.S. Department of Justice.
  • 5. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • The H-1B Professional and Specialty Occupation Work Visa Petition requires an approved Labor Condition Application (“LCA”) – ETA Form 9035.
    • U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) regulations govern the LCA and require that the employer pay the H-1B nonimmigrant 100% of the Federally Mandated Prevailing Wage (among other things).
    • Employers are required to pay the H-1B nonimmigrant the prevailing wage and to maintain documents concerning the wages and the working conditions of an H-1B nonimmigrant.
    • Employers are required to maintain documents referred to as a Public Access File (“PAF”).
  • 6. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • The PAF documents are required to be maintained at the H-1B worksite immediately after the employer files the Labor Condition Application (“LCA”) with the DOL.
    • Under the American Competitiveness and Workplace Improvement Act (“ACWIA”), any H-1B nonimmigrant must be offered the same company benefits as those offered to “similarly situated” non-H-1B employees in the organization.
  • 7. CIS site visit
    • The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service ("USCIS") found as many as one-in-five H-1B applications were affected by either fraud or "technical violations," of the H-1B program.
    • The hiring of private contractors to send "investigators" out to conduct site visits to H-1B employers to verify if the H-1B employee is working at the employer and performing the work as outlined in the H-1B petition.
  • 8. CIS site visit
    • Make that their houses (i.e., their Public Access files (“PAF”)) are in order.
    • Aside from the ability to produce evidence of payment of the proper wage.
    • H-1B employers must maintain in the PAF the original LCA (with dates of posting).
    • A wage memorandum outlining how the wage was determined and a copy of the relevant prevailing wage data.
  • 9. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • DOL audits can arise as a result of:
      • Disgruntled Employees.
      • Random Audit by the DOL.
      • Investigation initiated by the U.S. Department of State (Consular Office).
      • Investigations referred by other Governmental Agencies.
  • 10. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • If a DOL Audit occurs (normally by the Wage and Hour Division) an employer may be found guilty of not:
      • Paying the H-1B nonimmigrant the specified wage; and/or
      • Maintaining PAF documents; and/or
      • Providing the H-1B nonimmigrant with the same benefits as those provided to all other “similarly situated” non-H-1B employees.
  • 11. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • Failures to comply with DOL regulations can result in:
      • The employer being liable to pay back wages to an H-1B employee;
      • Debarment from the use of the H-1B program;
      • Other potential civil and/or criminal liabilities.
    • Employers who are government contractors can lose the ability to obtain U.S. government contracts.
  • 12. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW (Form I-9)
    • A second potential area for audit and investigation concerns employment verification (Form I-9) (referred to as the “Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986” or “IRCA”).
    • Every employee in the U.S. is required to prepare and retain an I-9 Form (with a few exceptions).
    • Every HR Professional knows that IRCA is an integral aspect of every hire in the U.S.
  • 13. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW (Form I-9)
    • IRCA states that it is illegal for any U.S. employer to knowingly “hire” and “retain” workers who are not work authorized in the U.S.
    • Every employer is required to properly verify the eligibility of an employee to work in the U.S. on the Form I-9.
    • The I-9 Form is a deceptively simple one page document.
    • Employers are required to review the “identity” and “work authorization” documents and to decide if the potential employee is authorized to work.
  • 14. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • Since the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) absorption of the Legacy-INS, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division (“ICE”) has been charged with worksite inspections and audits of I-9 Forms.
    • The “bad news” for employers is that ICE Officers are not inclined to be lenient and educate employers about their responsibilities but are more likely to impose sanctions.
  • 15. How to Avoid Liability and Assess Risk
    • -  
    • 責任の回避とリスクの事前認識方法  -
    • 1. Develop a comprehensive compliance policy
    •    - 移民法に関する包括的な法令順守指針の確立
    • 2. Training - トレーニングの実施
    • 3. Internal Audits - 企業内監査制度の確立
    • 4. Change in the corporate culture - 企業文化の見直し
    Sindell Law Offices, P.C.
  • 16. Best Compliance Practices
    • -  
    • 最善の法令順守の実施  -
    • A written compliance policy should have the following elements. – 法令順守指針(書面)に規定すべき事項
    • 1. Promulgation of a policy by the President or CEO stating the employer’s commitment to full compliance with Federal and State immigration laws.
    •   連邦及び州移民法の全面順守に対する企業の責任を記した社長もしくは最高経営責任者による指針の発布
    Sindell Law Offices, P.C.
  • 17. Best Compliance Practices
    • 2. Designation of a senior immigration compliance officer responsible to the President for managing the employer’s immigration compliance policies & procedures.
    •   企業の移民法に関する法令順守指針及び手続き管理に関して社長に責任を負うシニアの移民法法令順守職の指定
    • 3. Mandated immigration compliance training of all officers, managers, and employees on a recurring basis, with supplemental training provided to all I-9 verifiers.
    • 全 I-9 管理者に対して提供される補足的なトレーニングを基に、全ての役員や管理職員、その他従業員に対する定期的な移民法に関する法令順守トレーニングの実施
    Sindell Law Offices, P.C.
  • 18. Best Compliance Practices
    • 4. Creation of a hotline for anonymous reporting of suspected violations by managers, employees, or contractors.
    • 管理職員やその他従業員もしくは下請け会社による違反の疑いに対する匿名通報用の情報提供ホットラインの構築
    Sindell Law Offices, P.C.
  • 19. Compliance Plan Continued
    • - 最善の企業法令順守実施 –
    • 1. Prompt investigation and resolution of all reports of suspected immigration law violations.
    • 移民法違反行為がなされている疑いがある全ての通報に対する迅速な調査及び解決
    • 2. Threat of disciplinary sanctions including termination, for managers and employees found to have knowingly violated company policy with respect to immigration compliance.
    • 移民法の法令順守に関する企業指針に対し管理職員また従業員が故意に違反した場合の解雇も含めた懲罰的な制裁措置の脅迫
    Sindell Law Offices, P.C.
  • 20. Compliance Plan Continued
    • 3 . Verification of all SS numbers at the time of hire or participation in E verify.
    • 従業員を雇用する際または企業が E verify に参加する際のソーシャルセキュリティー番号の確認
    • 4. Creation of a system of secondary review of all I-9’s and documentation to ensure proper completion of all newly hired workers.
    • 新規に雇用した従業員の雇用手続きが適切になされたか確認するために I-9 及びその他の必要書類を二次的に確認するシステムの構築
    Sindell Law Offices, P.C.
  • 21. Compliance Plan Continued
    • 5. Requirement that all employee leasing and temp agencies attest to compliance with I-9 verification requirements.
    • 全ての業務契約者や人材派遣会社が I-9 照合要件を順守していることを立証する必要性
    • 6. Regular financial auditing to ensure compliance with all wage payment and payroll tax requirements with respect to local hires.
    • 社員に関する全ての賃金支払い、及び給与税に関する要件を順守しているか確認するための定期的な会計監査
    Sindell Law Offices, P.C.
  • 22. Compliance Plan Continued
    • 7. Periodic third party (attorney) audits to ensure plan compliance at all levels of the organization.
    • 企業の全ての階級の従業員に対する法令順守計画を確認するための第三者(弁護士)による定期的な監査
    Sindell Law Offices, P.C.
  • 23. Legal Counsel’s Role
    • - 弁護士の役割 -
    • 1. Develop auditing compliance safeguards.
    • 企業の法令順守に対する監査について予防手段を確立する
    • 2. Develop indemnification provisions against the use of unauthorized labor when negotiating contracts.
    • 契約交渉する際、不法労働者を雇うことに対する賠償規定を確立する
    Sindell Law Offices, P.C.
  • 24. Legal Counsel’s Role
    • 3. Develop contracts for independent contractors with DHS compliance standards and reporting requirements.
    • DHS の法令順守規定と報告義務に基づき、契約社員に関する契約事項を確立する
    • 4. Employer should contact legal counsel prior to an immigration related hiring or firing.
    • 雇用主は移民法に則って従業員を雇用もしくは解雇する際、事前に弁護士にその法令順守について連絡を取るべきである
    Sindell Law Offices, P.C.
  • 25. Legal Counsel’s Role
    • 5. Develop and implement contractor termination policies based on civil and criminal law compliance issues.
    • 民・刑法の法令順守指針に基づいて請負業者の解雇指針を確立し、実施する
    • 6. Cannot use a contract to avoid compliance with regulations.
    • 規定に基づいた法令順守を回避するための契約は結ぶことが出来ない
    Sindell Law Offices, P.C.
  • 26. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • Given the present focus on “security” and “identity” in the U.S. workplace, it is likely that ICE Officials are going to continue to be active in their investigations.
    • Leads for investigations can result from:
      • Disgruntled employees; and/or
      • Random audits; and/or
      • Special governmental investigations (hospitality).
  • 27. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • ICE identifies employers from a national database and targets specific industries that have developed a reputation for hiring unauthorized workers (e.g., restaurant, meat-packing, commercial cleaning, textile and garment, dairy, etc.).
    • You can protect the organization with a self-audit.
  • 28. Different Types of Enforcement Actions
    • I-9 Audit
    • Investigation by Government Agency
    • Raid
  • 29. Anatomy of an ICE Raid: The Investigation
    • Criminal investigative tactics are used
    • Look for danger signs within the company to avoid being targeted
    • Many different ways an investigation may be initiated (criminal convictions of employees, etc)
    • Criminal Search Warrants
  • 30. Anatomy of an ICE Raid: The Raid
    • ICE Agents will arrive
    • Some Agents will interview employees, others will search the premises
    • HR can retrieve copies of immigration documents for workers from their files
    • Company representatives must be compliant with ICE’s demands
  • 31. IMAGE Best Hiring Practices
    • - IMAGE に対する最適な雇用活動とは -
    • 1. Use E Verify for all hiring - 全従業員に対する E-Verify の実施
    • 2. I-9 training program - I-9 トレーニングプログラムの実施
    • 3. Trained employees with quality supervision. – トレーニングを受けた社員による良質の監督
    • 4. Annual I-9 audits by external auditing firm. - 外部監査機関による毎年の I-9 監査
    • 5. Self reporting procedure for deficiencies. - 不備に対する社内通報規定の確立
    Sindell Law Offices, P.C.
  • 32. IMAGE Best Hiring Practices
    • 6. No match letter protocol.
    • - “ ノーマッチレター”に関する規定の確立
    • 7. Tip Line with protocol - 規定を基にした社内通報システムの確立
    • 8. Anti-discrimination – 非差別化
    • 9. Contractor adherence to IMAGE Best Practices
    • - 請負業社による IMAGE 活動の評価
    • 10. Annual Report - 年次報告書の作成
    Sindell Law Offices, P.C.
  • 33. Big Business Mandates: The Law According to Wal-Mart
    • Wal-Mart has lead the country in enforcing employer compliance since their $11 million settlement to ICE.
    • Wal-Mart was ordered to establish a mechanism to make sure that its contractors "are taking reasonable steps to comply with immigration laws.“
    • The new addendum to Wal-Mart Contracts includes registering with the E-Verify Program, conducting training programs for all staff related to I-9 compliance, annual internal and third party I-9 audits, implementing an internal tip line, and full cooperation with government officials from the Department of Homeland Security, for both the GC and all Subs.
    • Contractors wishing to do business with companies like Wal-Mart and Verizon must comply with the provisions of the sub-contractor agreements and compose their own compliance programs which must meet Wal-Mart’s approval.
  • 34. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • Due to national security concerns, great efforts continue to be placed on Form I-9 audits of businesses that deal with U.S. “critical infrastructures” such as airports, wastewater facilities, and highways.
    • Employers may also have obligations to make sure “contractors” have done I-9 Forms.
  • 35. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • The third area from an audit perspective is the PERM Labor Certification Application (the “Green Card”) process.
    • While the implementation of PERM in 2005 promised faster Green Cards, it also made the process much more complex.
    • DOL sent a message that it was easier to audit the employer then to processing an Application.
  • 36. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • The PERM process requires a U.S. employer to obtain:
      • Obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination (the “PWD”); and
      • Conduct a rigid “recruitment process”; and
      • Conduct recruitment within a very discrete period of time; and
      • Show there are no able, willing and qualified U.S. workers who can take the job being offered.
  • 37. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • A PERM Application is filed by making attestations on the ETA Form 9089.
    • The ETA Form 9089 is submitted to the DOL and DOL can:
      • Certify the Form without receiving documentation; or
      • DOL can send out an audit letter.
  • 38. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • PERM Regulations state that DOL can request an audit of any pending PERM case “for cause” or in the DOL’s “discretion”.
    • If the employer is audited, the employer will receive an audit letter that lists the documents that need to be submitted.
  • 39. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • The audit letter shall permit an employer thirty (30) days from the date of the letter to provide additional information or documents.
    • If the employer does not respond, the PERM Labor Certification Application will be denied.
  • 40. IMMIGRATION-RELATED AUDITS OVERVIEW
    • It appears clearly to be the case that immigration-related programs that are undertaken by employers may be subject to either directed and/or random government audits from the DHS, DOL or other government agencies.
    • Failure to adequately comply with government regulations can result in penalties.
    • The employer’s familiarity with the intricacies of the auditing and compliance are likely to save considerable time and money.
  • 41. QUESTIONS?
    • Please feel free to contact our office if you should have additional questions:
    • Sindell Law Offices, P.C.
    • Tel: 212-459-3800
    • [email_address]
    • Nachman and Associates, P.C.
    • Tel: 201-670-0006
    • [email_address]
    • Thank you.