While employers know that their employees must meet immigration standards to be eligible to work legally in the United States, they are not always aware of the required paperwork they must satisfy to prove this eligibility. The federal government frequently conducts inspections of businesses to ensure that employers have the appropriate I-9 forms on file and that these forms are completed correctly. Employers could be penalized for any mistakes or deficiencies.
To avoid costly consequences associated with your employees’ eligibility to work in the United States, you may want to work with an Aurora I-9 compliance lawyer to ensure that you fulfill the proper requirements. A skilled immigration attorney may also be able to provide advice and representation if you receive notice of an investigation or are seeking to correct errors revealed in an inspection.
What I-9 Compliance Involves
Employers are required to maintain a properly completed I-9 form for all employees, regardless of citizenship status. The employee is required to fill out sections of the form and certify employment eligibility. Also, the employee must provide documentation to prove eligibility, and the employer is required to examine the documents to ensure that they appear to be genuine.
The employer must record and keep a copy of all supporting documents with each employee’s I-9 form. If any information on the form is missing or incorrect, the employer may be held liable for a violation.
Employers are required to keep I-9 forms on file for three years from an employee’s hiring date or one year after their employment with that employer ends, whichever is later. The forms may be stored in paper, microfilm, microfiche or electronic format, but they must be accessible for inspection by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, or the Immigrant and Employee Rights section of the Department of Justice.
Generally, an employer should be prepared to provide the forms for inspection within three business days of receiving notice of an inspection. If you need assistance with any of these requirements and steps, speaking to an I-9 compliance lawyer in Aurora may be a wise move.
Technical and Substantive Violations in Aurora
During an inspection, the agents reviewing the documents may cite an employer for technical violations as well as substantive violations. Technical violations are also referred to as procedural errors and include issues such as missing information or improper use of the Spanish version of the I-9 form.
For instance, a form may lack proper identifying information about a translator. If an inspection reveals technical errors, the employer will have ten business days to correct those errors. If the errors remain, they would be counted as substantive errors which are subject to penalties.
When an inspection uncovers substantive violations, the agency may issue a Notice of Intent to Fine. Substantive errors may be similar to technical errors in some cases because they often involve missing information on an I-9 form. When the missing information is considered essential, though, the lack of it is treated as a more serious offense.
For instance, if an employee fails to check a box attesting to citizenship, LPR status or authorized alien status, that could be considered a substantive violation of I-9 requirements. If either the employee or employer fails to sign the I-9 form, that also could be regarded as a substantive violation.
Consult an Aurora I-9 Compliance Attorney Today
Fines for I-9 violations could add up in a hurry. In addition to fines for substantive and technical errors on the forms, you and your company may be liable as an employer for even greater penalties if the inspection reveals that you hired or continued to employ ineligible workers.
Federal agents are required to be thorough when inspecting records for I-9 compliance, so it may be beneficial to establish an I-9 compliance regimen and conduct regular inspections. An Aurora I-9 compliance lawyer could assist with establishing compliance procedures, conducting trial inspections, or defending against charges of non-compliance. To learn how an experienced immigration attorney could help in your situation, call today to schedule a consultation.