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 Aug. 1, 2016, the new penalties will be applied retroactively to violations that occurred on or after Nov. 2, 2015.
Jerome G. Grzeca, Marquette 1988, is the managing partner of Grzeca Law Group, S.C., Milwaukee, where he exclusively practices in the area of employment-based immigration law. He has practiced business immigration law for more than 25 years in Washington, D.C., and Milwaukee.
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
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.
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.
New Form I-9 Available Nov. 22
In addition, please note that a new Form I-9 will be released Nov. 22, 2016. This form will be required for use on all new hires and reverifications completed after Jan. 21, 2017.