The number of I-9 audits conducted by federal agencies multiplied over the past decade, rising from almost none-just three in 2004-to 500 in 2008 and 3,004 in 2012.
Employers should pay attention accordingly, as the fines for substantive and procedural violations of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) can add up quickly.
For knowing violations, IRCA penalties range from:
$375-$3,200 for each unauthorized employee for a first offense.
$3,200-$6,500 per unauthorized worker for a second offense.
$4,300-$16,000 per worker for a third offense.
For paperwork violations, the fines range from $110 to $1,100 per violation.
When the government assesses penalties, the biggest factor it examines is the percentage of reviewed I-9 forms that have errors, according to Daniel Brown, who is a former counselor to the assistant secretary at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
I-9 audits used to be random, but now they are more often the result of disgruntled former employees complaining to ICE.
Also, ICE likes to go after companies connected with the nation's critical infrastructure, such as those that run power plants, food-service businesses, those connected to airports, or anything else that seems related to homeland security. However, employers in all industries are subject to I-9 audits.
New Form I-9
The much anticipated revision to the Form I-9 is here. The U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the availability of the revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 on March 7.
The new Form I-9 contains a revision date of 03/08/13 and an expiration date of 03/31/16. Employers should begin using the new form immediately. The USCIS recognizes that modifications to electronic systems may be necessary for employers using electronic Forms I-9. Therefore, a 60-day grace period is provided, and the current version of the Form I-9 may be used in these circumstances until May 7, 2013.
The new form should be used immediately for new hires. It is not necessary to complete the updated form for existing employees; however, the new form should be used in the event re-verification is required at a later date. The new form is available for purchase on SESCO's website by clicking HERE.
SESCO Management Consultants is available to assist with your human resource issues. You may contact us by phone at 423-764-4127 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.