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I-9 Compliance for Employers | Immigration Attorney Mario Godoy

What Happens During an I-9 Audit?

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) requires employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of their employees and created criminal and civil penalties for employment-related violations. Compliance with IRCA is mandatory whether you are hiring United States born citizens, Green Card holders or other foreign workers. Errors or compliance documentation issues can result in serious fines or even imprisonment.

E-Verify is a free, voluntary online tool that allows enrolled employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.

I-9 Audits

Employers are required by law to maintain and update employment records according to the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). However, many small businesses are not required to submit any employment documentation to the government unless they undergo an I-9 audit.

Employment verification is enforced by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents or auditors who can conduct an inspection of a business for I-9 compliance.

• Employers are by law provided with at least 3 business days to produce the I-9 Forms.

• If a technical or procedural violation is found, an employer is given 10 days to correct the violation.

• I-9 audits can result in two types of violations: technical and substantive.

• Technical violations typically involve paperwork errors or discrepancies in information.

• Substantive violations include repeated and unresolved errors on Form I-9, willful distortion of facts, or the submission of false documentation to ICE. Substantive violations usually result in a fine.

I-9 Fines and Penalties

Depending on how severe an employer’s violation is, I-9 fines can be tens of thousands of dollars for each employee. If an employer is found to repeatedly and knowingly violate the IRCA law, ICE could file criminal charges.

The ICE website lists the following I-9 fines and penalties for noncompliance:

I-9 fines

It is crucial that employers consider having established I-9 policies at their workplaces to avoid the serious implications surrounding this form. If you need to conduct and verify an I-9 audit at your company, you may benefit from the assistance of a skilled I-9 compliance lawyer.

Consult an experienced 1-9 compliance lawyer to help you put employee verification processes and procedures in place, and protect you against liability and penalties. Contact the experienced I-9 compliance attorneys at Godoy Law Office in Cook County and DuPage County today to protect your business and your employees at 630-912-0322.  

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