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Serious Penalties for Non-Compliance with Form I-9

All U.S. employers must complete and retain a Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and non-citizens. On the form I-9, the employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and relate to the individual and record the document information on the Form I-9. The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of the form.

The Form I-9 must be kept by the employer either for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later. The form must be available for inspection by authorized U.S. Government officials (e.g., Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, Department of Justice).

Employers have certain responsibilities under immigration law during the hiring process. The employer sanctions provisions, found in section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), were added by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). These provisions further changed with the passage of the Immigration Act of 1990 and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996.


Employers must:


  • Verify the identity and employment authorization of each person hired after Nov. 6, 1986.
  • Complete and retain a Form I-9 for each em­ployee required to complete the form.


Employers must not:


  • Discriminate against individu­als on the basis of national origin, citizenship, or immigration status.
  • Hire, recruit for a fee, or refer for a fee aliens he or she knows to be unauthorized to work in the United States.

Employers who violate the law may be subject to:


  • Civil fines
  • Criminal penalties (when there is a pattern or practice of violations)
  • Nulifying government contracts
  • Criminal penalties (when there is a pattern or practice of violations
  • A court order requiring the payment of back pay to the individual discriminated against
  • A court order requiring the employer to hire the individual discriminated against

Civil Fines and Criminal Penalties for Form I-9 Violations

Civil Violations

First Offense

Second Offense

Third Offense

Minimum

Maximum

Minimum

Maximum

Minimum

Maximum

Hiring or continuing to employ a person, or recruiting or referring for a fee, knowing that the person is not authorized to work in the United States.

$375.00
for each worker.

$3,200.00
for each worker.

$3,200.00
for each worker.

$6,500.00
for each worker.

$4,300.00
for each worker.

$16,000.00 for each worker.

Failing to comply with Form I-9 requirements.

$110.00 
for each form.

$1,100.00
for each form.

$110.00
for each form.

$1,100.00
for each form.

$110.00
for each form.

$1,100.00
for each form.

Committing or participating in document fraud.

$375.00
for each worker.

$3,200.00
for each worker.

$3,200.00
for each worker.

$6,500.00
for each worker.

$3,200.00
for each worker.

$6,500.00
for each worker.

Committing document abuse.

$110.00
per violation.

$1,100.00
per violation.

$110.00
per violation.

$1,100.00
per violation.

$110.00
per violation.

$1,100.00
per
violation.

Unlawful discrimination against an employment-authorized individual in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee.

$375.00
per violation.

$3,200.00
per violation.

$3,200.00
per violation.

$6,500.00
per violation.

$4,300.00
per violation.

$16,000.00 per
violation.

Asking an employee for money guaranteeing that the employee is authorized to work in the United States, also called an indemnity bond.

Pay $1,100.00 
for each bond the employee paid to the employer.


Refund the employee the full amount of the bond. If the employee cannot be found, this refund will go to the U.S. Treasury.

Criminal Violations

First Offense

Second Offense

Third Offense

Engaging in a pattern or practice of hiring, recruiting or referring for a fee unauthorized aliens.

Up to $3,000.00
for each unauthorized alien.

Up to 6 months in prison for the entire pattern or practice.

Up to $3,000.00 for each
unauthorized alien.

Up to 6 months in prison for the entire pattern or practice.

 

Up to $3,000.00
for each unauthorized alien.

          
Up to 6 months in prison for the entire pattern or practice.

 

Last updated: 11/23/2011

 

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