There are a number of businesses that constantly worry and try to ensure that they are complying with the obligations of the immigration laws. The USCIS continues to try and update the I-9 form that employers are required to use in order to verify the legal status of employees in the United States and verify that the employee is able to legally work in the United States. Immigration laws continuously seem to remain at the forefront of election politics, and the laws are continuously changing and evolving. In order to successfully navigate these laws and ensure that your business is in compliance, you may want to seek out a business immigration law firm to assist you. Here are some of the common issues that can affect your business.
1. An Expired I-9 Form that is still Being Used
The USCIS website still contains the I-9 form that expired in 2016. However, businesses have to use the form in order to verify that new employees are legally eligible to work in the United States. When a business hires an individual that they know is not legally able to work in the country, they can face serious monetary penalties. Each violation can come with a penalty ranging from $375 up to $16,000, for each violation that was committed. If a business fails to produce this form, the penalties can range from $110 to $1,100 for each individual violation.
2. Up to 50,000 Workers have a Legal Status in Limbo
Homeland Security was authorized to defer deportation of certain illegal immigrants for up to three years. It was presumed that these individuals were working and would continue to do so under work permits that were granted during their deferment period. This executive order was stayed by a judge that asked information about the 50,000 individuals is released. If a business employed one of these workers, they might discover that the worker was no longer able to work legally in the United States. This could cause major issues for the business.
3. Unchanged H1-B Visa Caps
Immigration laws are complex, and businesses face many issues. One issue that a business might face is that the number of foreign employees that are skilled and are authorized to utilize at H1-B visa in order to work in the United States has been capped by Congress at 65,000. H1-B petitions for 2017 began being accepted by the USCIS on April 1, 2016. There were hundreds of thousands of petitions that were filed. Any business that wants to use foreign workers with specific skill sets need to start planning for the next fiscal year as soon as possible.
4. Immigration Reform
Finally, immigration reform has the potential to increase wages. It is estimated that undocumented workers that go through the process to gain legitimate employment could gain a wage increase of five to ten percent. Immigration reform is going to happen. It is critical that employers think about these estimates as they make plans for the future.
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