In previous posts we have written about employers throughout the nation being hit with I-9 audits. When the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement uncovers situations of noncompliance, a business could face financial penalties and possibly even criminal charges. Depending on the circumstances this can take quite a toll on a business.
The best way to avoid this situation is of course to make sure that all I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms are properly maintained. To make sure that a business is in compliance from the beginning, some opt for working with an immigration lawyer.
This individual can help with a variety of things such as making sure that the I-9 forms are accurately and completely filled out. He or she can also ensure that the required paperwork is filed with ICE in a timely manner. In addition, in situations where E-verify is being used, a lawyer can make sure it is being done correctly.
Taking this action ahead of time could save many businesses a lot of trouble. This is because in the fiscal year 2013, the forms at more than 3,100 employers were inspected by ICE. This number continues a trend of increase that started in 2008. To put things in perspective monetarily, in 2013 the fines assessed were more than $15 million. In 2009, that number was just $1 million.
If your business faces an I-9 audit an immigration lawyer can still be of assistance. In addition to addressing the issues uncovered they may also be able to negotiate the penalties associated with the violations.
Source: Business Management Daily, “I-9 audits again hit record; get forms in compliance,” Oct. 2, 2014