DHS Increases Fines and Penalties for Form I-9 Non-Compliance and Other Immigration-Related Violations

immigration related violations and form i-9 non-compliance
January 27, 2023

The United States government has increased several immigration-related fines and penalties, which went into effect on January 13, 2023. According to the government, the increase complies with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015.

Since 2015, the government has adjusted these penalties based on the inflation rate. Unfortunately, 2022 and 2023 have seen the most significant increases in the last seven years. According to the statistics, these significant rises come from an inordinately high inflation rate.

Here is a table listing the adjusted offenses and the previous and current fines.

Offenses Previous Fine Current Fine
Substantive Form I-9 violations – 1st offense – minimum $252.00 $272.00
Substantive Form I-9 violations – 1st offense – maximum $2,507.00 $2,701.00
Knowingly employing undocumented – 1st offense $627.00 – $5,016.00 $676.00 – $5,404.00
Knowingly employing undocumented – 2nd offense $5,016.00 – $12,537.00 $5,404 – $13,508.00
Knowingly employing undocumented – 3rd offense $7,523.00 – $25,076.00 $8,106.00 – $27,018.00
Document Fraud (USC 1324c(a)((1)-(4)) $517.00 – $10,360.00 $557.00 – $11,162.00
Document Fraud (USC 1324c(a)((5)-(6)) $438.00 – $8,736.00 $472.00 – $9,413.00
Prohibition of indemnity bonds $2,507.00 $2,701.00

Employers must complete the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-)9 for all hired workers. Unfortunately, employers may find it easy to make mistakes on this form. Should an employer make a mistake while filling out Form I-9, it will run the risk of receiving expensive fines. As such, businesses should prove vigilant, especially when they receive a Notice of Inspection from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

When ICE issues a Notice of Inspection to an employer, the latter will have three days to produce the Form I-9s for all employees. In addition, they must prepare the payroll records and other company documents as requested. After ICE’s inspection, the agency will inform the company whether they found errors or technical violations. Finally, they will issue a Notice of Technical or Procedural Failures letter for the technical violations they found.

After receiving a Notice of Technical or Procedural Failures, the employer will have ten business days to make necessary corrections. If the employer fails to correct the technical errors, ICE will issue fines for substantive violations, which employers cannot fix. As a result, ICE will send a Notice of Intent, and the employers will have penalties for substantive and uncorrected technical violations.

To avoid fines and penalties, employers must complete Form I-9 correctly. The easiest way to do this is to use an electronic I-9 management system. This system will guide hiring personnel step-by-step through the process to ensure the form is completed correctly and send alerts for upcoming deadlines. In addition, it will provide a secure storage system to ensure the company has immediate access to Form I-9s and related documents.

Learn more about automating your employment eligibility verification and ensuring compliance with I-9 Compliance.