For the past three years, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been targeting small businesses for worksite investigations. During these investigations, ICE reviews the employer’s I-9 forms (used by employers to verify an employee’s identity and legal status) and other documents to make sure they’re only hiring people authorized to work in the United States. These investigations are part of the Obama’s administration strategy to combat illegal immigration by reducing demand for illegal employment.
Employers must take these worksite investigations very seriously. Fines for technical I-9 violations range from $110 to $1,100 per violation, while fines for knowingly hiring undocumented workers range from $375 to $16,000 per violation. More egregious instances of knowingly hiring undocumented workers can lead to criminal prosecutions.
Fortunately, most of what the business owner needs to know to comply with the Form I-9 requirements is found on the M-274 Handbook for Employers. The Handbook contains easy to follow instructions for completing and maintaining Form I-9.
Alternatively, we can help you establish an I-9 compliance program, audit it, and provide continuing education to the responsible person(s) in your organization. Call us at 214-630-0080 to discuss your unique Form I-9 needs.
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