Reminder: Fines for Form I-9 Violations Increase Every April

As a reminder, fines for Form I-9 violations will increase every year on April 5 as a result of the inflation adjustment to civil monetary penalties required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (2015 Act) which was signed into law on November 2, 2015.

The Department of Homeland Security published increases of about 2.5% to the schedule of civil fines imposed for various violations, including those associated with compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (“IRCA”) violations assessed after April 5, 2019.

IRCA imposes sanctions on employers requiring that employers:

  • Hire only authorized workers; and
  • Comply with the “Employment Verification System” (timely completion of the Form I-9); and
  • Complete and retain the Form I-9 for all active employees hired after November 6, 1986 and retain the Form I-9 for former employees for the longer of 1 year from termination or 3 years from hire; and
  • Treat all workers equally regardless of citizenship or national origin.

Penalties for non-compliance with IRCA range from civil fines and debarment from government contracts to criminal penalties and repayment of any lost wages or rehiring of any individual discriminated against. These civil fines for failure to comply with Form I-9 requirements can be imposed even for “paperwork” violations such as failing to complete all required fields or listing items in an incorrect field.

These new fines will be effective for penalties assessed after April 5, 2019 where the associated violation occurred after November 2, 2015.

Substantive/Uncorrected Technical (Paperwork) Violation Fines:

  • Minimum fine per individual increased from $224 to $230
  • Maximum fine per individual increased from $2,236 to $2,292

Unlawful Employment of Unauthorized Workers:

  • First offense increased from $559 – $4,473 to $573 – $4,586
  • Second offense increased from $4,473 – $11,181 to $4,586 – $11,463
  • Subsequent offenses increased from $6,709 – $22,363 to $6,878 – $22,927