Employers are required to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all employees. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE) is inspecting companies' employment records in order to make sure that they are complying with employment eligibility verification laws and regulations and are holding employers accountable for their hiring practices. Employers should be aware that very substantial fines can be imposed for failure to properly obtain and have available the appropriate documents regarding employees' eligibility to legally work in the US. Importantly, if the appropriate documentation is not completed properly, fines can be imposed for paperwork violations even if all employees are legally permitted to work in the US.
Employers are also required to maintain certain documentation in a public access file and provide other workers in the same profession with notice that the company is petitioning the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to employ someone in H-1B status. The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) is holding employers liable for compliance with regulations relating to the payment and placement of H-1B employees. Failure to comply with regulations can lead to the award of payment for back wages and debarment from filing future petitions and applications with the USCIS and the USDOL.
The area of employer compliance is becoming more complex and enforcement, both in the areas of I-9 form inspections and H-1B public access file investigations, is increasing dramatically. In order to effectively deal with these issues and avoid the very severe consequences for non-compliance, employers must take the time to develop a strategy and be prepared in advance with an Immigration Compliance Program that includes training and internal audits.
Butzel attorneys have extensive experience in counseling clients on all aspects of employer compliance, from properly completing the I-9 form and the H-1B public access file to providing in-house training to employers regarding compliance issues. We work with employers in developing customized programs in order to promote compliance and reduce the risk of violations and penalties. Butzel attorneys are experienced in representing employers in I-9 audits and H-1B public access file investigations and have successfully negotiated with the US Department of Homeland Security in reducing fines and penalties.
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- Obtained all types of visas for Mexico, including tourist, business, technical, Board members, pre-approved work permits, change of status, permanent resident, Exit and Re-Entry permits, and renewals
- Conducted internal audits of I-9 forms for clients
- Represented employers during investigations conducted by USICE and USDOL regarding employment verification issues
- Represented employers in investigations conducted by the USDOL concerning H-1B Labor Condition Application public access file including benching and wage and hour issues.
- Represented employers in USCIS administrative site visit
- Represented clients in obtaining Mexican visas at various Mexican Embassies and Consulates abroad
- Coordinated the establishment of foreign corporate entities in Mexico, obtaining all necessary permits to carry out business and advise on all business related legal areas, in consistency with multi jurisdictional implications
- Conducted in-house training regarding preparing and maintaining H-1B public access files and Labor Certification Applications
- Obtained work visas in other countries such as Brazil, Germany, Belgium, Austria, etc.
- Conducted in-house training on I-9 form compliance and retention, including electronic completion and storage of I-9 forms
- Provided preventative counseling on sending foreign expatriates to Mexico. Including immigration regulations, as well as labor and tax implication and employer sanctions
- Conducted in-house training on all areas related to doing business in Mexico