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Employer Compliance With Verification, Documentation And Hiring For Foreign Employees

Last updated on September 20, 2023

In light of heightened government scrutiny, it is important that employers develop long-term planning solutions for hiring practices, document retention and overall compliance with respect to its I-9 forms and other employment-related documentation, especially when it comes to the hiring of foreign workers and employees. Our employment immigration attorneys at Wilson Law Group in Minneapolis will work with you to ensure sound and compliant hiring and retention practices or defend against sanctions or government inspection processes.

Basic I-9 Requirements

Employers are required to comply with myriad different laws and rules relating to employment verification, document retention, and hiring of workers. One example is the Form I-9, which is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of potential employees in the United States. This form is quite short but carries significant responsibilities and consequences if mishandled.

An employer must complete a Form I-9 each time it hires a person to perform labor or services in the United States in return for wages or remuneration.

There are, however, some instances in which an employer is NOT required to complete a Form I-9. Employers do not need to complete a Form I-9 for persons:

  • Hired on or before November 6, 1986, who are continuing in their employment
  • Employed to provide casual domestic work in a private home on a sporadic or intermittent basis
  • Independent contractors
  • Providing who are employed by a contractor providing contract services but providing labor to you
  • Not physically working on U.S. soil

Both the employer and prospective employee must complete the Form I-9. A prospective employee must also present acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization to the employer. Employers must also ensure that they are not discriminating in their hiring practices. There are also strict retention requirements for I-9 forms.

Criminal And Civil Penalties For Employers

In 1986, a law was passed requiring employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of their employees. The law also created sanctions for employment-related violations. It is critical that employers develop short and long-term solutions relating to employment hiring practices, employment authorization verification, and document handling and retention in order to avoid potential criminal and civil penalties. Our attorneys at Wilson Law Group are experienced in providing counsel in this area, as well as assisting large and small businesses in the event of government inspections.

Immigration And Customs Enforcement (ICE) Form I-9 Inspections

Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or auditors can conduct inspections of Form I-9 for compliance.

The inspection process is initiated by the service of a Notice of Inspection (NOI) upon an employer, ordering the production of I-9 forms. Sometimes, ICE will require the employer to provide other documents in addition to the I-9 forms, such as a list of all current employers of a copy of payroll.

ICE agents or auditors then inspect the I-9 forms and documents for compliance. Where procedural or technical violations are found, ICE or auditors may give the employer a certain period of time to correct the violation. Where, however, ICE or auditors determine that the employer knowingly hired or continued to employ unauthorized workers, ICE or auditors can impose a fine, order to cease the activity, or in some instances criminal prosecution. In determining penalty/fine amounts, ICE generally considers five factors: the size of the business, good faith effort to comply, the seriousness of the violation, whether the violation involved unauthorized workers, and the history of previous violations.

There are several different types of notices that ICE or auditors may issue to an audited employer, including the following:

  • A Warning Notice
  • A Notice of Suspect Documents
  • Notice of Discrepancies

If your company is under review or received a notice relating to a potential violation, it is important to know your rights and develop a sound plan of action. Our immigration attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help you develop a strategy for your defense.

Employer Sanction Defense

In 1986, a law was passed requiring employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of its employees and created sanctions for employment-related violations. It is critical that employers develop short- and long-term solutions relating to hiring practices, verification, and document handling and retention in order to avoid potential penalties. It is also important to obtain counsel relating to notices of sanctions or penalties received to help protect your current and future business.

If the government or auditors have determined that an employer knowingly hired or continued to employ unauthorized workers, it can impose a fine, order the employer to cease the activity, and/or in some instances impose criminal prosecution. Since the passage of the law in 1986, civil monetary penalties have been increased.

Our firm represents large and small businesses with respect to employment-related practices and sanction defense.

Global Immigration

Our legal practice reaches beyond helping companies employ foreign workers in the United States. Our firm also specializes in helping to move individuals around the globe, from the United States to other countries and between other countries as needed. Our motto is simple: Global companies need global solutions.

In light of increasingly complex compliance requirements, tightening limitations of acceptable visitor activities and rigid labor testing criteria, it is more important than ever to hire an experienced attorney for your global migration issues. Our firm can help develop short and long-term business plans for your outbound immigration needs. We have assisted large and small companies with business visas, work permits, and long-term residency around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom.

For example, Wilson Law Group has successfully assisted U.S. and foreign employers with the following applications to Canada:

  • Business visitor requests
  • Labour Market Opinion (LMO) applications to hire temporary foreign workers for high skilled occupations
  • Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) petitions to transfer employees to the Canadian branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of a U.S. company.

Our visa and immigration attorneys look forward to developing a creative, tailored plan to meet your company’s global migration objectives.

Free Consultations And Assessments

We offer a free case assessment and initial consultation appointment to discuss your organization’s needs and immigration or migration goals. To schedule your free appointment, call us at 612-430-8022 or send us an email inquiry using our website form.