Immigration authorities, including ICE, are cracking down on illegal workers in California now more than ever. In order to protect workers from sudden worker eligibility inspections, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act was signed into law in 2017, but went into effect in January of this year.
Under this new law, employers must take several steps when they are notified of an upcoming inspection. Failure to follow these procedures may result in costly fines.
Types of Documentation Requested During Inspection
Immigration agencies can legally request a variety of documents, including a work visa. I-9 Employment Eligibility Forms are the most requested. However, they may also ask to see a list of the current workers or specific payroll information.
Before the Inspection
As soon as a company receives notice of an immigrant inspection, they must notify their employees. The Immigrant Worker Protection Act requires that all employers, no matter the industry or company size, provide a notice to their workers within 72 hours.
Companies may choose to create their own inspection notice, or they may download a printable template online. Employers are encouraged to keep a template on hand, so they can act quickly in the event of an upcoming inspection. All notices must contain the following:
- The name of the entity conducting the inspection.
- The date the employer received notice of the inspection.
- The nature of the inspection.
- Notice of Inspection of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Forms.
All copies must be provided in the languages typically used for employee communications.
After the Inspection
If any worker is found to be non-compliant with the current laws, the employer must inform them of these deficits within 72 hours after the inspection. All results must be hand delivered to the worker. If this is not possible, the employer may send the notice via email or first class mail.
In this notice, the employer must inform their worker of the following:
- Details about the deficit, including what is missing and how to remedy the situation.
- A date and time to meet with the employer to correct the problem.
- The worker’s right to legal representation during any meeting.
Failure to Comply by These Rules
Any company that fails to comply with the rules stated in the Immigration Protection Act may be fined $2,000 – $5,000 for their first offense. Subsequent offenses may result in fines of up to $10,000.
With immigrant authorities performing more worker eligibility inspections, employers need to be prepared. The Immigrant Protection Act states what should be done before and after a notice of inspection is received. Talk to a Los Angeles law firm if you have concerns.