Virginia I-9 Compliance Lawyer

Compliance with federal I-9 requirements is important for both employers and employees in Virginia. Employers who cannot demonstrate compliance may be hit with heavy fines and possibly even criminal penalties. So, it is wise for all employers to establish protocols to ensure compliance and schedule periodic reviews.

At the same time, I-9 compliance is critical for employees because if they are unable to meet employments requirements, they may not be legally eligible for employment in Virginia. Employees who have concerns about demonstrating their eligibility for employment and employers who are facing or seeking to avoid I-9 violations may benefit from a consultation with a Virginia I-9 compliance lawyer.

Violations of immigration law often have serious consequences, so information and representation from a knowledgeable immigration attorney can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of a situation.

What to Expect from an I-9 Inspection

The I-9 form is the federal government’s reference point for proving that an employee is eligible to work in the U.S. under current immigration laws. Agents of several different government offices, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, or the Department of Justice may conduct an inspection of an employer’s I-9 records.

In most cases, employers receive a Notice of Inspection at least three days prior to the inspection. However, the government may obtain the forms without advance notice if they obtain a warrant or subpoena to do so.

The inspection may be conducted at a location chosen by the agents, which is usually either a government field office or the place where the employer stores the I-9 forms. If the documents are stored in electronic format, the employer must retrieve them and provide the equipment to review the forms. Penalties may be assessed against employers who delay or refuse to allow an I-9 inspection. For those finding themselves facing penalties, be sure to contact a Virginia I-9 compliance lawyer today.

Potential Results of an I-9 Inspection

After the inspection is completed, the employer will receive written notice of the results. Most often, the notice will fit one of the following categories:

  • Notice of Inspection Results – Also referred to as a compliance letter, this notice informs employers that no errors or discrepancies have been found.
  • Notice of Suspect Documents – This notice advises employers that the review shows that one or more employees are not authorized to work. Both the employer and the employee may submit additional documentation to demonstrate that this finding is in error. If they fail to do so, employers may face penalties if they continue to employ the unauthorized employee(s).
  • Notice of Discrepancies – This notice explains that the documentation on hand fails to fully demonstrate employment eligibility for one or more employees. The employer is advised to show the notice to the employee so that the employee may present adequate documentation to the investigating agents.
  • Notice of Technical or Procedural Failures – This notice highlights technical violations and provides ten business days for employers to perform corrections. If the technical errors are not remedied, they will become substantive violations, and the employer may be penalized.
  • Warning Notice – This notice explains that the inspection revealed substantive violations but that a penalty will not be assessed.
  • Notice of Intent to Fine (NIF) – This notice indicates that the inspection revealed substantive violations or other types of violations for which a fine will be levied.

How a Virginia Immigration Attorney with I-9 Compliance Knowledge Can Help

The severity of penalties that may be assessed for I-9 violations often depends on the type of offense and the duration of the non-compliance. If it can be shown that an employer knowingly hired or continued to employ ineligible workers, a fine will be assessed based on the number of ineligible employees and the existence of any prior violations. The fine is somewhat less for substantive I-9 Form errors or uncorrected technical errors.

A Virginia I-9 compliance lawyer may provide assistance during an investigation or when challenging the findings of an I-9 investigation. However, the best way to handle an I-9 investigation is to prepare in advance by establishing proper procedures and conducting regular compliance reviews. For a consultation to learn how a lawyer can assist with your unique needs, call now.