U.S. Department of Justice Increases Fines for Immigration-related Violations, Requires New I-9 Form

The U.S. Justice Department recently announced increases in penalties for immigration-related violations. While the Interim Final Rule spelling out the increases became effective on August 1, 2016, the new penalties will be applied retroactively to violations that occurred on or after November 2, 2015. The increases included violations in the following categories.

Unlawful Employment of Foreign Nationals. The penalty for knowingly hiring or continuing to employ a foreign national without work authorization increased from a minimum of $375 to $539 per unauthorized individual, and the maximum penalty increased from $3,200 to $4,313 per unauthorized individual. The penalty ranges for second and subsequent violations per unauthorized individual are significantly higher.

I-9 Paperwork Violations will now expose employers to penalties from a minimum of $110 to $216 and a maximum of $1,100 to $2,156 per individual.

E-Verify Violations. The penalty range for an E-Verify participating employer’s failure to notify of final non-confirmation of an employee’s employment eligibility, per individual, is now a minimum of $751 and a maximum of $1,502.

Unfair Immigration-related Employment Practices Other Than Document Abuse. Penalties for these practices by an employer (other than document abuse) per individual discriminated against will now be levied in a range of $445 to $3,563 for the first order, up from $375 and $3,200, while penalties for second and subsequent instances of violations will exceed these amounts substantially up to a maximum of $21,563.

Unfair Immigration-related Employment Practices (Document Abuse). Employers that request more or different documents during the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification process than are required may incur penalties in the range of $178 to $1,782 per individual discriminated against.

Given these significant increases in immigration-related penalties, employers need to adopt and follow best practices when hiring employees and completing I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms. Grzeca Law Group is available to answer any questions regarding these requirements, to review I-9 policies and procedures, and to audit I-9 records if requested.

In addition, please note that a new Form I-9 will be released on November 22, 2016. This form will be required for use on all new hires and reverifications completed after January 21, 2017.

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