Our Business Immigration Compliance team provides a full range of services designed to keep businesses in compliance with all applicable immigration laws as well as defend businesses facing immigration-related enforcement actions. Regardless of size or whether they employ any foreign nationals, federal law requires all employers in the United States to verify the identity and work authorization of each employee they hire (typically referred to as the “Form I-9 Process”). Employers must generate and maintain a Form I-9 for all employees hired in the United States and make such forms available for inspection by certain agencies of the federal government. Given the drastic increase in immigration enforcement in recent years, all employers must focus on their compliance efforts and be prepared for inspection.
Our team regularly advises employers regarding their verification obligations, including:
- developing immigration compliance policies and procedures;
- conducting Form I-9 training and auditing;
- preparing training materials for managers and staff;
- reviewing electronic I-9 software;
- analyzing E-Verify participation;
- conducting E-Verify training and auditing;
- responding to Social Security Administration (SSA) No-Match letters; and
- advising management regarding participation in the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) IMAGE (ICE’s Mutual Agreement Between Government and Employers) Program.
In the course of our compliance work, we also regularly conduct internal investigations for businesses as issues arise in order to resolve concerns internally and adapt the immigration compliance policies and procedures as needed. Our team also assists companies by conducting due diligence for the immigration aspects of corporate reorganizations, mergers or acquisitions.
Our team regularly defends employers facing ICE Form I-9 Notices of Inspection, DOJ Office of Special Counsel (OSC) discrimination investigations, and other immigration-related government enforcement. Our extensive enforcement defense experience gives us the unique ability to provide valuable risk assessment of a company’s immigration compliance program and to assist the company in reducing their exposure.
In today’s era of increased immigration enforcement, many companies have had the unfortunate experience of the consequences of non-compliance, including government enforcement, bad press or private litigation. With the laws in this arena changing at rapid speed, businesses need a guide through the complex maze of regulations, to maximize efficiency and anticipate trends that may impact their operations.
- Immigration Compliance Policy and Procedure Development - Every good compliance program begins with effective policies and procedures. We work with in-house counsel and human resources to tailor a comprehensive immigration policy best suited for the particular business environment which serves as a guide for the team and can serve as a mitigating factor if the business is faced with government enforcement.
- Immigration Compliance Training - We provide training on a variety of topics via a variety of methods, including on-site training (often coupled with the company’s annual human resources meeting), web-based training, handbooks and simple best practice guides.
- I-9 Audits - We customize our I-9 audit based on the company’s risk for enforcement, areas of concern and resources available. We utilize a review system designed to provide efficiency without sacrificing quality, allowing us to analyze thousands of forms and supporting documents for compliance with the myriad of legal requirements implicated by the I-9 process and with the company’s internal policies.
- E-Verify - Deciphering the maze of federal and state E-Verify (internet-based employment verification system) requirements is a daunting task for most companies. We assist with analyzing the requirements and implementing E-Verify, including developing E-Verify policies and procedures, training and auditing.
- Electronic I-9 - In this electronic age, a number of software providers offer electronic I-9 systems. While the efficiency and effectiveness of a good electronic I-9 system can be a great asset to an immigration compliance program, employers must ensure that their electronic I-9 system meets the specific, and sometimes counterintuitive, regulations on point. We assist by reviewing electronic I-9 systems for compliance.
- Social Security No-Match - The SSA no-match process continues to be a source of confusion for many employers. We assist by developing SSA No-Match Policies and Procedures and advising on how to resolve particular SSA no-match issues.
- IMAGE - We analyze the potential impact of joining ICE’s IMAGE Program, both from the perspective of the risks associated with joining (or not joining) the program as well as the challenge for the particular business to meet the best practices required of businesses in the program.
- Internal Investigations - As issues arise, our team assists by conducting internal investigations so that companies can resolve alleged violations of company policy and/or law and remediate as appropriate.
- External Enforcement Defense - We have defended numerous ICE Form I-9 inspections, DOJ discrimination investigations and Grand Jury subpoenas regarding immigration-related matters. We understand the enforcement process, the players and the industry standards and use that knowledge to navigate the often murky waters to the best resolution.
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- Defended multiple Fortune 500 companies facing criminal investigation regarding employee identity and work authorization verification practices and allegations regarding the hiring or continuing employment of unauthorized workers.
- Defended numerous employers from ICE Notices of Inspection of Form I-9s.
- Defended multiple employers from DOJ investigations regarding allegations of discrimination related to their employment eligibility verification policies and procedures.
- Advised numerous employers regarding immigration-related compliance matters, including the implementation of compliance programs, developing immigration compliance policies and procedures, auditing internal procedures, reviewing contract provisions, auditing Form I-9s and conducting Form I-9 and other immigration-related training.
- Conducted internal investigations for multiple employers regarding alleged violations of immigration law and knowingly hiring or continuing to employ unauthorized workers.
- Advised numerous employers regarding their E-Verify participation requirements and conducted E-Verify auditing and training.
- Conducted Form I-9 audits for multiple employers.
- Advised numerous employers regarding their response to SSA No-Match letters.
- Counseled employers regarding participation in IMAGE program.
- Defended company from civil subpoena regarding production of Form I-9.