Fines increase for hiring undocumented workers

Increases in fines that penalize employers for violating the law by hiring undocumented immigrants or discriminating against immigrants in verifying whether they are authorized to work in the United States go into effect today.

If an employer is found guilty of illegally hiring undocumented immigrants or violating the civil rights of immigrants in the employment verification process, he or she may be subject to severe fines and even jail time.

The increases in fines are for violations of the law committed after November 2 of last year. Earlier violations are subject to the fines stipulated prior to that date.

According to the government, the increases are due to an adjustment to the inflation level.

In the following graph you can see some of the increases in fines:

Increase in fines for employer violations

The fine can be even higher if the employer has committed multiple violations. For example, employers who have illegally hired undocumented workers several times can receive a maximum fine of $$21,563.

It is of utmost importance that an employer understands the employment verification process of a worker and the consequences of making mistakes or explicitly violating the law.

As you will see in the chart, for example, the authorities increased the maximum fine for Form I-9 processing violations by 96% - from $1,100 to $2,156.

It is understandable that some employers are extremely cautious because they want to avoid hiring an undocumented worker to avoid legal consequences, but they must also keep in mind that they cannot discriminate against an immigrant when assessing whether or not he or she has authorization to work within the United States.

You can read more information about what documents or types of questions can be asked during the employment verification process to avoid discriminating against an immigrant worker here.

The following are the official notices published in the Federal Register regarding the increases:

Inflationary Adjustment of U.S. Department of Justice Civil Penalties

Inflationary Adjustment of Federal Employment Penalties, from the U.S. Department of Labor

Inflationary Fine Adjustment to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security H-2B program