The new year brought many HR Law changes to California and the US. At the same time, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been cracking down hard with audits on Form I-9 compliance. Last week, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that “ICE agents conducted workplace raids on 77 businesses in San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose Feb. 2. Earlier in January, nearly 100 7-Eleven stores were targeted in the largest workplace immigration enforcement operation conducted under President Donald Trump.”
So while its important to keep ahead of changing compliance laws and ordinances your company may also want to review its Form I-9 procedures and ensure your paperwork is in order. Violations on Form I-9 get costly fast and employers who fail to keep accurate records of all their employees or fail to correctly fill out the verification form can be charged up to $2,156 PER FORM. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services detail the penalties employers may be subject to:
- Civil fines and/or Criminal penalties (when there is a pattern or practice of violations). For more information on the current amounts please refer to the Civil Monetary Penalties Inflation Adjustment for 2017.
- Debarment from government contracts
- 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
Avoiding these penalties all hinges on your company’s ability to provide correctly filled out Form I-9’s for all of your employees along with the correct documentation when ICE visits. Recently ICE has been pushing its voluntary certification program called IMAGE where employers can commit to Department of Homeland Securities best employment practices and become certified by ICE. The process includes the following requirements:
- Complete the IMAGE Self-Assessment Questionnaire (Application)
- Enroll in the E-Verify program within 60 days
- Establish a written hiring and employment eligibility verification policy that includes an internal Form I-9 audit at least once a year
- Submit to a Form I-9 Inspection
- Review and sign an official IMAGE partnership agreement with ICE
While working toward IMAGE certification and following internal written procedures for filling out and documenting Form I-9’s is important employers can ensure their documentation and forms are readily available for ICE audits and verified through E-Verify by using an electronic Form I-9 service. HireSafe offers electronic Form I-9 employment eligibility verification through our provider i9advantage. In addition, the below resources can help keep you compliant to avoid penalties.