The Obama administration has committed to a worksite enforcement strategy that focuses on employer compliance and much higher administrative fines. The related fines are high and costly. Fines can range from three hundred dollars to as much as $16,000 per violation.
Employers have immigration-related compliance obligations regardless of whether they employ foreign nationals. Every employer has the obligation to ensure that all its employees have the right to work in the United States. In addition, they have to ensure that all employees continue to have the right to work in the US. Employers are penalized for not have a program in place to ensure that all new hires and employees continue to have the right to work. (Hint: not having a tracking system for employees using identification from list “A” is a red flag that employer has someone working on expired authorization,) The last couple of years has shown that employers’ increasing do not have tracking programs in place. This has led to significant I-9 penalties that have been levied against companies that did not even have foreign nationals on their payrolls. They simply failed to comply with the legally required verification of employment eligibility of each new hire, or they discriminated against certain new hires during the I-9 completion process. Employers have to pay attention to the details or get out their checkbook.