Recent developments under the Obama Administration show that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DOL) have substantially stepped up their worksite enforcement efforts, including increased I-9 audits and H-1B site inspections. Gleason Immigration Law assists businesses around the country in preparing corporate policies and programs to ensure full compliance with federal laws and regulations, as well as the increasing volume of state worksite enforcement laws. We also represent employers who face audits, investigations and enforcement-related litigation.
Employers that knowingly hire unauthorized foreign workers may be held civilly and/or criminally liable for their actions. Our immigration compliance practice focuses on helping employers avoid these costly civil fines and criminal penalties. Our services include:
Gleason Immigration Law offers training sessions on I-9 (employment verification eligibility) compliance ranging from a one-hour sessions to half-day programs covering a range of I-9 and E-Verify topics. Attorney Gleason provides take-home quick-reference I-9 guide for employees which serves as a handbook for handling recurring I-9 issues. Training topics include: properly completing the I-9 form, spotting document fraud, handling reverification, minimizing the risk of penalties for I-9 violations, dealing with social security number “mismatches” and responding to tentative nonconfirmations in the E-Verify process.
I-9 Compliance Assessments
Gleason Immigration Law can create I-9 compliance assessment reports specifically tailored to individual employers. Attorney Gleason reviews randomly selected I-9 forms, has discussions with the human resource professionals responsible for completing I-9 forms, and reviews all written employer policies and procedures regarding I-9 compliance. We then provide the employer with an I-9 “report card,” both identifying areas where the employer is in full compliance and areas where the employer’s program falls short of the governing I-9 laws and could expose the employer to I-9 penalties, sanctions and other liabilities.
We assist employers in reviewing the state of their I-9s. First, we provide an overview to the personnel who will complete the audit, providing them with materials and tools to assist them in spotting I-9 problems. Second, we provide advice on an as-needed basis during the self-audit. Third, at the conclusion of the self-audit, we review a sampling of the I-9 forms and any specific I-9s that the employer designates for review to ensure that the documents meet the governing legal standards.
Attorney Gleason can conduct a full on-site I-9 audit on some or all of an employer’s I-9 forms, identifying those documents that require additional steps to comply with I-9 laws and highlighting other issues that may expose the employer to I-9 penalties and sanctions. If an employer is selected for an I-9 audit, Gleason Immigration Law can represent an employer in preparing for the audit and by engaging with U.S. government officials.
I-9 Inspection and Raid Defense
In the event of a government inspection or raid, Attorney Gleason can communicate and negotiate with the U.S. Government on an employer’s behalf and representing the employer, if necessary, before U.S. federal agencies and courts.
H-1B LABOR CONDITION APPLICATION COMPLIANCE
The Department of Labor has increased its random, unannounced onsite inspections of H-1B employers to verify that both the H-1B employer and its H-1B employee are in compliance with all H-1B requirements, including requirements relating to the Labor Condition Application posting, payment of required wages, maintenance Public Access Files, and any required non-displacement inquiries. Failures in these areas can result in significant back-pay awards, civil fines and debarment. Just as the U.S. Government has increased its criminal enforcement of I-9 requirements, the government is increasing its pursuit of criminal enforcement actions against H-1B employers. Thus, it is important for ALL H-1B employers (whether a small, privately-held IT company or a large, publicly-traded Fortune 500 company) to make sure that its H-1B compliance program is properly established and compliant with applicable regulations.
Gleason Immigration Law works with employers to develop effective H-1B compliance and limit liability.
Our services include:
- Ensuring that all Public Access Files are properly maintained in accordance with all Department of Labor regulations.
- Conducting internal audits of Public Access Files to ascertain and correct any compliance issues.
- Developing procedures and policies to insure full compliance with all relevant regulations.
- Training human resources personnel and in-house counsel on the proper completion and retention of H-1B Labor Condition Applications, procedures for termination of H-1B employees, and consequences of workforce changes involving foreign nationals.
- Providing full representation to employers facing H-1B audits and investigations.