As youare likelyaware,since1986 the governmenthasplaceduponemployersthe burdenof actingas
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Things You Should Know About Immigration Law and I-9's ...Small Business Issue

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Immigration law can often be a tricky subject for employers to tackle. To ensure you’re keeping your organization compliant, here is some helpful information to remember. An overview based on the most frequent I9, immigration, HB1 visa questions.

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Things You Should Know About Immigration Law and I-9's ...Small Business Issue

  1. 1. As youare likelyaware,since1986 the governmenthasplaceduponemployersthe burdenof actingas gate-keepersinthe enforcementof the immigrationlaws.Atthe same time,employersmustbe very careful notto discriminate againstemployeesorcandidatesforemploymentbasedonnational origin. The resultisa veryfine line thatemployersare requiredtowalk,withsteeppitfalls(monetaryliability, fines,andworse) awaitinganymissteps.Inthe lastfew years,immigrationreformsandincreased enforcementhave beenthe topicsof extensive debate.While ourpoliticianshave notbeenableto agree uponany majornewpolicies,one propositionwhichseemstomeetlittle objectionisthe ideathat employersshouldbe subjectedtogreaterscrutinyandenforcement,increasingthe burdenof theirrole as front-line evaluatorsof workforce authorization.Indeed,the lastfew yearshave seensignificant increasesinworkforce auditsandraidsbyU.S. ImmigrationandCustomsEnforcementatall levels.You have probablyreadreportsof a fewof the more prominentraidsorenforcementactions,whichhad made the national news.However,pleasedonotassume anyfalse sense of securityfromthe factthat youmay consideryourcompanyto be too small tomeritattention,orthat youdon’thave any foreign employees(redflagalert!).Anauditcanbe triggeredfora numberof reasons,includingrandom samplesandreportingbydisgruntledemployees(orex-employees).Inthe eventof anaudit,your companywill needtoestablishitscompliancewithICE,justasthe big companiesinthe newshadfailed to do.Therefore,whileproperI-9compliance hasalwaysbeenimportant,ithasneverbeenmore essential.Itisnot enoughforemployerstosimplyfilloutthe I-9formto the bestof theirability accordingto the basicforminstructionsandthrow themina file.ProperI-9compliance requiresdue care, greatdiligence,afairbitof training,continuingeducation,andnearconstantvigilance.The risks are simplytoohighto maintaina lackadaisical approachtoI-9 compliance,if thatisyourcurrent posture.Anemployerthatknowinglyhiresorcontinuestohire anunauthorizedalienfacespenaltiesof $275 – $2,200 for eachunauthorizedalienforafirstoffense;$2,200 – $5,500 each fora secondoffense; and $3,300 – $11,000 each forsubsequentoffenses,plusthe possibilityof criminalcharges.Onthe otherhand,overzealousattemptstodetermineworkauthorizationforanemployeeorpotential employeecanresultina discriminationlawsuitandthe potential forsignificantdamages.Every employershouldhave aformal internal I-9Compliance Policydetailingthe employer’sexactpoliciesand proceduresforproperlycompleting,verifying,andretainingI-9andemploymentauthorization documentation,forassigningsupervisoryresponsibilitywithinthe companyforthese duties,andfor self-auditsorotherperiodicinternal effortstoinsure compliance.Inaddition,the employer’semployee handbookshouldcontainasectionexplainingtothe employee the employerandemployee’srespective obligationswithrespecttoFormI-9, andinformingthe employeewhotocontact withanyquestionsor concerns. By establishingandmaintainingeffectivepoliciesandprocedures,manyof these riskfactorscanbe addressed.Itiscritical foremployerstoworkwithexperiencedHRcounsel toguide themthroughthis complicatedandever-changingareaof compliance.

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