August 3rd, 2016 | Sterling

I-9 Mistake Costs Just Rose Up To 96%

I-9 Mistake Costs Just Rose Up To 96%

Earlier this year we conducted a survey with Kelton Research to better understand consumer’s thoughts on Background Screening. During the course of the research, we discovered that immigration was the third most important topic to be discussed in the presidential debates this year, behind healthcare (71%) and terrorism (73%). With that being said, it should come as no surprise that come August 1, 2016 fines related to immigration are on their way up.

According to an article posted on, “The announcement [is] related to final rules that apply to civil penalties assessed after Aug. 1, 2016, for violations that occurred after Nov. 2, 2015. The penalties cover violations of the H-1B, H-2A and H-2B temporary visa foreign worker programs; the unlawful employment of immigrant workers; violations related to I-9 forms; and immigration-related discriminatory employment practices.”

While there are a variety of different categories, “the new rules raise paperwork violations related to I-9 verification from a maximum of $1,100 to $2,156,” a percentage increase of 96%. The article goes on to mention that “the minimum penalty imposed by the Justice Department for the unlawful employment of immigrant workers will rise from $375 to $539, while the maximum fine will go from $3,200 to $4,313. Violators facing multiple charges will be subject to a new maximum penalty of $21,563.”

Regardless of the revenue or size of your business, this is substantial. Just a few mistakes could cost your company more than $20,000 in fines. Think for a moment on all of the ways that $20,000 could be spent, such as reinvesting in your product, employees or marketing. While this may sound like it is rooted in fear, it is simply rooted in facts. Regulations are constantly changing and sometimes it’s hard to keep up.

Here are three tips from our white paper (“Danger in the Details: Form I-9 Mistakes That Can Cost You”) could help you avoid future mistakes:

  1. Utilize A Remediation Solution With Error Detection: A technical error that leads to a six-figure fine is sure to frustrate employers and this case is proof that even companies with good intentions can make costly I-9 mistakes. These errors can be avoided by going digital and using a remediation solution that incorporates error detection algorithms. If a form is incomplete or erroneous, it is flagged and returned to the employer for correction.
  2. Always Conduct Self-Audits: The negative stigma attached to the word “audit” is enough to make any business owner cringe, but it doesn’t have to be a taboo term. Self-auditing can identify potential issues before they balloon into much bigger problems. This is especially useful for larger companies where several managers carry responsibility for completion and management of Form I-9. If a manager is illegally hiring unauthorized workers, a self-audit may help detect it so that appropriate action can be taken. Many third-party providers offer auditing as part of the I-9 solutions.
  3. Use A Service Provider For Proper I-9 Management & Storage: Using an I-9 service provider can help streamline the process for re-verification. An I-9 management program notifies employers about upcoming Form I-9s that are about to expire so that the appropriate action can be taken. Service providers also store completed Form I-9s for the required period of time so employers don’t have to bear the burden.

We get it – it’s not easy to keep up on all of the complexities when it comes to I-9, which is why we’ve created multiple resources to help you out, including the following webinar:

In addition to the three tips mentioned above, we have more advice and a list of six common mistakes that companies tend to make. This guide will help you set up processes to avoid fines and save money as you navigate the waters of I-9 verification.

Danger in the Details: Form I-9 Mistakes That Can Cost You

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.