With the day-to-day problems and challenges facing the average American business owner, it may not seem like a big deal to let the management of your employees’ I-9 records be a low priority compared to other more pressing concerns. However, failing to comply with federal law regarding the collection, completion, and storage of these forms can result in serious repercussions for you and your business.
Seeking help from a Lombard I-9 compliance lawyer can be an effective and cost-efficient way to resolve any issues you have with Immigration & Customs Enforcement. A knowledgeable immigration attorney could help you understand what the law requires of you and ensure compliance. This could help you avoid any unnecessary, stressful, and time-consuming audits.
I-9 forms have been an essential part of the hiring process in the United States since 1986 when the Immigration Reform and Control Act instituted them to reduce the number of undocumented workers employed by U.S. businesses. Employees and employers have distinct responsibilities when filling and maintaining these forms, all of which an I-9 compliance attorney in Lombard could explain in further detail.
Currently, employers must ensure all new hires complete Section 1 of the I-9 form no more than three business days after beginning work. This process includes an employee providing official documentation that establishes his or her identity and U.S. work authorization. The employer must inspect the documents presented by an employee and complete Section 2 of the I-9 form within three business days of this worker’s start date.
Employers must then keep copies of I-9 forms for at least three years after an initial hire date or one year after termination of employment, whichever comes last. If applicable, employers must reverify an employee’s qualification if any submitted documents expire. Businesses also must complete Section 3 of the I-9 form if an employee legally changes his or her name or if rehiring a terminated employee within three years of his or her initial start date.
If employees or representatives of ICE suspect that a business owner has failed to comply with federal I-9 laws, the agency may undertake an audit into that business to look for accurately completed I-9 forms. ICE conducts these inspections without a warrant and with as little as three days’ notice through a written Notice of Inspection. ICE could investigate either in the workplace or remotely through a request for the employer to mail applicable documents.
Depending on whether ICE discovers uncorrected technical errors or substantive violations, financial penalties for a first-time offender in 2022 may range from $252 minimum to $2,507 maximum per violation. If ICE discovers referral, rehiring, or recruiting violations, applicable fines may range from $627 to $5,016. The government may place even harsher sanctions on repeat offenders. It may be especially vital for anyone who has had I-9 compliance interactions with ICE in the past to seek help from a seasoned lawyer in Lombard.
I-9 compliance is a serious matter. Even small mistakes can have huge consequences for your business. Fortunately, assistance is available from dedicated legal professionals with a track record of helping people like you proactively handle situations.
If you have any questions about federal I-9 requirements or a possible ICE audit, a Lombard I-9 compliance lawyer could address them in detail. Call today to schedule a consultation.