Have You Been Denied Entry Into The U.S.A?
Figeroux & Associates Worksite Enforcement & Compliance practice area is a specialty niche, offering a range of business immigration services to employers that extend beyond traditional employment-based immigration sponsorship to touch on employment law, corporate law and criminal law issues.
Compliance, Investigation, and Enforcement
Employers today face numerous challenges to remain in compliance with the myriad of laws, statutes, rules, codes, and regulations pertaining to the hiring and employment verification of employees and the resulting paperwork obligations. In recent years, the Federal Government has increasingly focused on the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws and a crackdown on illegal immigration. As a result, there is much greater government scrutiny in this arena, and there are significantly greater worksite enforcement actions. The attorneys at Ross Silverman are experienced at working with U.S. employers to proactively reduce exposure and liability should employers be the subject of a worksite action or audit, and providing employers and their employees with the expert representation needed in case of such an action or audit.
Enforcement actions or audits can be instigated by various arms of the government, including U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Department of Labor (DOL). Often inquiries by one government agency will also result in inquiries or actions by another government agency. The most common types of immigration-related actions are I-9 audits, conducted by either ICE or DOL, H-1B Wage & Hour Public Access File audits, conducted by DOL, and worksite raids, conducted by ICE. In some cases, the government assesses criminal penalties based on the employment of illegal workers, and in other cases, the government assesses financial penalties based on paperwork and/or payroll violations, regardless of the legality of the workforce.
Because of the heightened scrutiny, the government is giving these areas, it is extremely important that employers establish fair and consistent hiring practices and good worksite compliance policies. This is particularly true in a weaker economy. Actions a U.S. employer may take in response to an economic downturn, such as a reduction in force, reduction in hours, pay furlough, or salary reductions, open the door to disgruntled workers, which in turn could result in the filing of complaints and, ultimately, an increase in government scrutiny, investigation and enforcement actions.
The goal of a compliance plan is for an employer to develop a plan to address all hiring and immigration-related issues throughout the organization. A thorough immigration and worksite compliance program may serve to avoid getting on the government’s radar screen in the first place. If there is a government action, however, a rigorous compliance program will reduce the number of violations (if any), thereby limiting a company’s liability and evidencing the employer’s “good faith” effort to maintain a legal workforce and be in compliance with all applicable immigration laws and statutes pertaining to hiring and employment eligibility verification. It will also limit any possible criminal charges and exposure to severe financial fines and penalties for “knowingly hiring or continuing to employ” people who are not authorized to work in U.S.
At Figeroux & Associates, we are experienced at handling worksite compliance and enforcement matters, representing clients who are subject to government investigations by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor and ICE, and defending undocumented workers who are placed in immigration removal proceedings.
We provide advice, counseling, and representation in the following areas:
• Comprehensive Worksite Enforcement & Compliance Policies
• I-9 Training & I-9 Compliance Programs
• I-9 Audits
• Wage & Hour Public Access File Audits
• ICE Investigations & Raids
• Removal Defense
• Due Diligence in Mergers & Acquisitions and Corporate Restructuring
• Subcontractor Agreements
Comprehensive Worksite Enforcement & Compliance Policies
Review corporate structure, scope of operations and management structure to identify exposure and develop comprehensive, organization-wide policies and best-practices that will preemptively deal with any foreseeable immigration-related issues, including:
• Hiring & Immigration Policies
• H-1B Public Access File Audit Policies
• Basic I-9 Best Practices
• I-9 Audit Policies
• I-9 training and hiring policies for HR/Recruiters
• Policies for responding to government inquiries
• Federal Contractor & E-Verify Policies
• Intervention Policies
• Document Retention Policies
• Subcontractor Policies
I-9 Training & I-9 Compliance Programs
Counsel on proper I-9 completion and verification practices.
• Conduct training for Human Resources and other staff on the proper completion, re-verification, correcting, storing and purging of I-9 records.
• Advise on the development of a centralized I-9 verification program and implementation of I-9 best practices to ensure consistency and uniformity organization-wide.
Conduct I-9 record reviews and audits.
• Advise on corrective measures for paperwork violations and limitation of liability.
Wage & Hour Public Access File Audits
Conduct Public Access File audits.
• Advise on corrective measures to ensure that Public Access Files are maintained and completed, Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) are posted and certified for all worksites, and no back wages are owed or unauthorized payroll deductions exist.
Counsel on participation in the E-Verify program, including program requirements, advantages, and disadvantages.ICE Investigations & Raids
Represent and advise business owners and individuals who are subject to ICE investigations and raids.
Counsel business owners who receive unannounced visits from ICE agents
Advise on development of merger and acquisition best practices and assess successor liabilities.
• Review target company’s workforce, I-9 records, and employment policies and identify immigration-related matters.
• Assess and advise on the impact of layoffs and other corporate changes on the foreign national employees, including nonimmigrants and those pursuing permanent residence, as well as a company’s continued obligations and liabilities.
Advise on development of subcontractor policies to avoid liability for subcontractor’s failure to comply with U.S. immigration laws pertaining to the hiring and employment eligibility verification of subcontractor employees.