First, businesses use Form I-9 to corroborate the identification and employment approval of people hired for jobs in the US. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) was created to stop American businesses from hiring illegal immigrants. Under this Act, employers are responsible for verifying new hires’ legal employment authorization. Plus, reviewing the documentation they give. As well as, for accurately completing and maintaining I-9 records for each employee.
To reflect inflation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) raised the penalties for civil Form I-9 infractions. And the increased fines will take effect for penalties assessed after October 18, 2021. As well as, for connected offenses that occurred after November 02, 2015.
Now, if you work in HR and read this blog, you are already fully aware of the risks associated with your I-9 forms. Businesses are frequently terrified to examine their I-9s. Because they fear finding all the sneaky mistakes and omissions. Thus, that might get them into serious trouble with the authorities. The seemingly harmless I-9 form could become a liability. Like a ticking time bomb with only one forgotten signature, erroneous document, or skipped re-verification.
So they recommend employers create I-9 protocols. And conduct routine audits as preventative measures to assure compliance. To avoid the minefield of I-9 errors and omissions.
Increase in Fines for Form I-9 Violations
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declared on October 18, 2021, that the financial penalties imposed on American employers for Form I-9 infractions have been raised to keep up with inflation. The penalties imposed for noncompliance can result in significant civil penalties and monetary fines for workers who do not correctly complete, keep, or make Forms I-9 available for examination as required by law.
Civil fines for falsifying I-9 documents
- The minimum fine has changed to $237 from $234
- The maximum fine has increased to $2,360 from $2,332
Civil sanctions for intentionally recruiting, hiring, referring, or keeping undocumented aliens
- The first offense now carries a $590-$4,722 fine instead of the previous $583-$4,667 fine
- For a second offense, they have raised the fine from $4,667-$11,665 to $4,722-$11,803
- For a third or subsequent offense, the fine has gone up to $7,082-23,607 from $6,999-$23,331
Averting these more expensive penalties
Any errors made in completing and submitting federal immigration documents now have the potential to cost considerably more money than before. Form I-9, commonly known as the Job Eligibility Verification form, is a document used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to confirm each employee’s identification and employment eligibility.
They require employers to complete the form for each employee they hire. In order to avoid facing severe penalties. Both employers and employees must complete Form I-9, which consists of three components.
- The employee must fill out Section 1 of the form, which requests information about them and their attestation
- Employers fill out Section 2 for their inspection and verification
- Rehires and re-verifications are covered in section three
Penalties assessed after January 11, 2022, will be the first ones subject to the new rule. As of 2022 ICE will adjust the imposed penalties for Form I-9 errors. Forms I-9 can be challenging, and oversight by poorly trained or inexperienced workers, as well as a failure to carry out internal audits and identify errors, can result in problems. The most frequent ones include missing or inaccurate form fields, inability to supply or check supporting materials, and late filing dates. If an employer receives a Notice of Inspection from ICE, errors could result in significant fines. So, have you prepared your company for an encounter in case of an I-9 audit?
Form I-9 Sanctions
The Department of Homeland Security announced its annual inflation adjustments to a range of civil monetary penalties. Including Form I-9 paperwork fees, published in a notice in the Federal Register on October 18, 2021. According to this rule, the fine sums shown below will apply to fines imposed after October 18, 2021, where the related offense took place after November 2, 2015.
The agency treats uncorrected Form I-9 errors as “continuous infractions,” therefore regardless of when the error or omission actually occurred; ICE will consider them to have occurred after November 2, 2015, for the purposes of calculating the punishment.
Civil Penalties for Form I-9 Violations
DHS announced an increase in the civil penalties for businesses failing to complete their I-9s as required by law. Which slightly elevated the stakes.
The law requires every U.S. company to accurately complete Form I-9 for every employee, both nationals and non-nationals. When filling out the form, employees and employers are both accountable. The employee must verify that they have the proper authorization to work in the US. And must show valid identification and employment permission paperwork. The worker must then look at the original document that the employee has submitted to see if they practically appear to relate to the employer and are real. The employer or their designated representative must report the data on Form I-9 after looking over the original paperwork. Within three days of the new hire’s initial day of work, the employer must fully finish this process. And document it in order to receive payment.
In fact, employers must be very careful and maintain adequate I-9 record-keeping and compliance because the stakes are so high. So, they should also seek professional advice when designing a plan. Then employers can prevent the excessive expense and stress the I-9 infractions pose. By creating rules to demand inside procedures. These will guarantee that they complete I-9 forms correctly. And that they validated, preserved, and made them easily available. While employers can remedy some errors and get fine amounts partially lowered.
In line with annual inflation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced new, higher fines for Form I-9 violations. For connected breaches that happened after November 2, 2015, the additional punishments will take effect for penalties assessed after June 17, 2020.
So, if they audit your organization. Flaws such as missing or incomplete forms, failing to produce supporting documents, and several other mistakes could result in penalties. Thus, streamlining your procedures can reduce the likelihood of these mistakes. Tools at each stage of the process can help you manage your I-9s more effectively.
For more information, please visit Spirit One.