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Immigration Blunders made by Employers in 2011

The Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor (DoL) fixed over $1.7 million in civil money penalties and ordered to pay over $4.2 million in back wages against Maryland’s Prince George’s County Public Schools for reducing the wages of 1,044 foreign H-1B teachers illegally.

Farmland Foods Inc. had to pay $290,000 to settle claims when it wanted non-US citizens to submit specific work authorization documents (permanent resident cards or employment authorization cards) than the normal practice of permitting the employee to choose a document from the list of acceptable documents found on Form I-9.

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the University of California, San Diego Medical Center for improperly requesting employees to submit additional documents than are required by Form I-9 to establish the foreign national’s identity and employment authorization.

DOL directed Ganze & Company to pay $156,000 to an H-1B worker terminated before the H-1B employment period started as the company did not withdraw the H-1B with USCIS and pay for the traveling cost of the H-1B worker’s return to his home country.

Some time in April 2011, the owners of Worldwide Software Services were sentenced to more than 3 years in prison after being found guilty to a $41 million scheme using a software company as a front to bring foreign national workers into the US illegally.

Another case was settled against the American Academy of Pediatrics for engaging in the practice of posting employment opportunities on its website for doctors, nurses and other professionals specifying that only US citizens and certain visa holders could apply.

A Michigan dairy farm was found guilty to charges of employing illegals and they agreed to pay over $2.7 million as fines. The farm did not fully complete I-9 forms for the workers, hid unauthorized workers from ICE, and induced the illegals to reside in the US.

Alyn Industries was ordered to pay $43,000 for 62 I-9 violations. They failed to present I-9s for 2 employees, failed to complete Section 1 of the Form I-9 for 1 employee, and failed to to complete Section 2 of the I-9 Form for the other 59 employees.

If the E-Verify system issues a tentative non-confirmation (TNC) in response to a query, it is the US employer’s responsibility to provide the employee with a notice generated by E-Verify and information on how to contest the TNC. If the employee decides to challenge the TNC, the employer has to provide the employee with a referral letter that contains instructions and contact information for the agency that triggered the TNC. While the TNC is in progress, the employer cannot terminate or take any other adverse action against an employee.

There is no clear guidelines on how an employer should respond to No-Match Letters received in 2011. Employers should check their records to make sure their HR department accurately recorded the employee’s information. If their records are correct, they have to inform the employee that they received a SSN No-Match letter and should ask the employee to go to SSA to address any discrepancy.

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