Due to the implementation of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Sec. 701 of Public Law 114-74) (“Inflation Adjustment Act”), higher fines and civil penalties have now gone into effect for assessments that occur on or after August 1, 2016. These higher penalties can be applied to violations that occurred after November 2, 2015, the day the President signed the Act into law.
The Inflation Adjustment Act will be implemented by multiple federal agencies that have authority to assess civil penalties. The following is a summary, by federal agency, of the penalties covering violations for the unlawful employment of immigrant workers; violations related to Forms I-9; immigration-related discriminatory employment practices; and violations of the H-1B, H-2A and H-2B temporary visa for foreign worker programs. The increases in many categories are substantial. The penalties for Form I-9 paperwork violations are increased by an eye-catching 96 percent.
The consequence of the above is that employers should continue to aggressively monitor their immigration programs for compliance or suffer the harsher sting of these increased fines. Given that the penalties for I-9 errors are practically doubled, it is more important than ever to ensure I-9s are completed timely, correctly and are periodically audited. Moreover, most I-9 violations are considered continuing violations until they are corrected.