Form I-9 Audits Will Continue to Rise for Employers Suspected of Hiring Illegal Workers in 2019

ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2019

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Worksite Form I-9 audits will continue to rise for employers in the U.S. who are suspected of hiring ineligible workers in 2019. This trend has been chosen by leading global background check provider Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) as tenth on the list of “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2019 that feature emerging and influential trends in the background screening industry for the coming year.

In December 2018, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – a federal agency enforcing laws governing American border control – announced it opened 6,848 worksite investigations in fiscal year (FY) 2018 compared to 1,691 in FY17, initiated 5,981 Form I-9 audits in FY 2018 compared to 1,360 in FY 2017, and made 779 criminal and 1,525 administrative worksite-related arrests  in FY 2018 compared to 139 and 172 in FY 2017.

ICE is responsible for upholding laws established by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) which requires all employers in the United States to verify the identity and work eligibility of employees they hire through the use of the ‘Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.’ ICE uses the Form I-9 inspection program and civil fines to encourage employers to comply with the IRCA.

After receiving a Notice of Inspection (NOI), employers must produce their company’s Form I-9s within three business days, after which ICE conducts an inspection for compliance by auditing their hiring records to determine if they are complying with existing law. ICE reported that worksite investigations, Form I-9 audits, and worksite-related arrests surged by 300 to 750 percent over the previous fiscal year.

ICE has cracked down on employers suspected of hiring illegal workers and arresting the illegal workers that they find during worksite Form I-9 inspections. In 2018 alone, ICE conducted several worksite inspections that resulted in 21 arrests at 7-Eleven stores nationwide, more than 150 arrests in Northern California, 160 arrests in Texas, and 212 arrests in the Los Angeles, California area.

Employers who are not in Form I-9 compliance can face civil fines and criminal prosecution. In FY 2017, businesses not complying with Form I-9 requirements were ordered to pay $97.6 million in judicial forfeitures, fines, and restitution, along with $7.8 million in civil fines, including one tree trimming company whose financial penalties represented the largest payment ever levied in an immigration case.

Employers can maintain Form I-9 compliance through the use of E-Verify, is a web-based system that allows enrolled employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States by electronically matching information provided by employees on the Form I-9 against records available to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

E-Verify is a voluntary program except for employers with federal contracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause who must enroll in E-Verify. Some states also require employers to participate in E-Verify. In February 2018, the White House released the President’s Budget for FY 2019 that called for “$23 million to expand the E-Verify Program for mandatory nationwide use.”

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) can help employers remain in compliance by providing a robust Form I-9 and E-Verify solution that simplifies the employment eligibility verification process and enables employers to verify work status and electronically capture and retain required Form I-9 information. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Form-I-9-E-Verify/.

Starting in 2008, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) has selected background check trends that have impacted the future of the background screening industry. Each trend will be revealed on the ESR News Blog and also listed on the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” web page which is available at www.esrcheck.com/Tools-Resources/ESR-Top-Ten-Background-Check-Trends/.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), undergoes annual SOC 2® Type 2 audits, was named to 2018 HRO Today Magazine Baker’s Dozen for Top Pre-Employment Screening Service, and won the 2018 HRO Today Tektonic Award for innovative and disruptive background screening technology. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com.

ESR Webinar on Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2019

ESR founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen – a noted background check expert and author of “The Safe Hiring Manual” – will host a live complimentary webinar entitled “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2019” that will take place on Wednesday, January 30, 2019, from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Noon Pacific Time. To register, visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5840930517922184451.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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