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The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) used its administrative powers to implement higher monetary, civil, and criminal penalties to be used against employers who violated the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). The final ruling was announced on June 30th, just two days before the new penalties took effect on August 1st, 2016. In particular, the increase is meant to punish United States employers who hire foreign workers that do not have proper authorization or visas, or who intentionally participate in unfair employment practices that involve immigrants or foreign nationals.

New changes include:

  • Unlawful employment of foreign nationals: Penalty increased to $539 per violation, up from $375; maximum violation fiscal penalty increased to $4,313 per violation, up from $3,200
  • Maximum penalty for multiple violations: Increased to $21,563, up from minimum of $6,469
  • Form I-9 paperwork violations: Penalty increased to $2,156 per worker, up from $1,100

In order to maintain proper IRCA compliance, an employer:

  • Must re-verify the eligibility of all workers who had been hired on or after November 6th, 1986.
  • Ensure each employee has completed and provided a Form I-9.
  • Cannot discriminate against potential employees based on nationality, citizenship, or immigration history.
  • Hire, retain, or promote the hiring of a worker not authorized to be employed within or by the United States.

In addition to the monetary penalties, extreme cases of obvious employment malpractice could potentially face criminal penalties. Each incident is handled on a case-by-case basis. An employer also faces the destruction of their professional reputation if fined or penalized by the DOJ based on IRCA violations.

If you need help understanding these changes, or if you want to ensure you are not violating any IRCA regulations, you can contact USILaw. Our Montgomery County immigration lawyers assist employers with assurance and compliance issues to avoid future complications and fines. Call 800.335.8520 today for additional information.

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