Employer Immigration Compliance


Employer Immigration Compliance - I-9 compliance - Miami immigration lawyer

Why is it important for every employer to invest some time and money in making sure the company complies with the U.S. immigration laws, including Form I-9 rules? First, it’s the right thing to do. Second, non-compliance may cost you a lot more than you think.

Penalties Going up for Employer Immigration Compliance Violations

On June 30, 2016, the Department of Justice published an interim final rule titled Civil Monetary Penalties Inflation Adjustment (81 FR 42491). When this rule goes in effect on August 1, 2016, the fines for violations of federal immigration law, including employing unauthorized workers, violations of Form I-9 paperwork rules, and immigration-related discrimination, will increase sharply. In some cases, the penalties will go up from 35% to 96% depending on the nature and severity of the violation.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 outlaws three general categories of activity:

  1. Violating Form I-9 paperwork rules;
  2. Knowingly hiring or continuing to employ unauthorized workers; and
  3. Engaging in unfair immigration-related employment practices.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security or an administrative judge can impose penalties, if evidence proves that you knowingly hired or continued employing a foreigner who does not have a work authorization or did not comply with the rules regarding verification of an applicant’s right to work in America.

If the DHS intends to impose a fine, it will issue a Notice of Intent to Fine. You may appeal such Notice before an administrative law judge. If you do not appeal the Notice of Intent to Fine within 30 days, the DHS will issue a Final Order of a fine, which you won’t be able to appeal.

The newly increased fines can have a harsh impact on non-compliant employers. To illustrate:


Fines Under the Old Rule Fines Under the New Rule
Employing an unauthorized worker – first offense $375 – $3,200 $539 – $4,313
Employing an unauthorized worker – second offense $3,200 – $6,500 $4,313 – $10,781
Employing an unauthorized worker – third offense $4,300 – $16,000 $6,469 – $21,563

Email Miami Immigration Attorney directly: info@ottenlawfirm.com

To schedule a consultation, please visit Legal Consultation page

Additionally, penalties for violations of Form I-9 paperwork rules will increase from $110 – $1,100 to $216 – $2,156 per violation. Please note that each Form I-9 may have multiple violations. Thus, a company that considered I-9 employer immigration compliance unnecessary because the maximum penalty exposure taking into account all employees was $10,000 – $20,000, may have to reconsider its internal policies now when exposure for having poor I-9 documentation nearly doubles to $20,000 – $40,000.

In some cases, employer immigration compliance violations may result in felony charges to the employer. Immigration law is a complicated and convoluted area of the law with many traps that can result in penalties for actions that may not seem bad or illegal to a common sense business person.

With the increase in fines for employer immigration compliance violations, hiring an outside legal counsel to conduct an internal audit and help your company establish its internal immigration compliance procedures becomes much more cost effective. If you would like to ensure that your I-9 files and processes are compliant with the federal requirements, contact immigration lawyer at Otten Law Firm at info@ottenlawfirm.com.

Immigration lawyer in Miami, Florida – Oleg Otten