Last time we discussed how the crackdown on illegal immigration affects your auto shop. This should be a real concern for any auto shop owner now and heading into 2018. The immigration landscape has definitely changed this past year. In this blog piece we will discuss steps your auto shop should take to protect it in the event of an audit or immigration investigation.
How up to date is your business on immigration law and how to comply with it? If your staff is not familiar with the right forms to use and what the law requires of your business, you and your company could face fines, disruption of business, or worse.
Currently all businesses must have their workers complete and sign I-9 forms, regardless of whether they were born in the United States. This has been the law all along. However, last July the U.S. Government issued a new I-9 form, and, as of September 18, 2017, the use of this form is mandatory. All businesses must use the I-9 form with the revision date of 7/17/2017. The penalty for the failure to use the correct form is fines.
Your company should audit itself for compliance with the I-9 form and make certain that all of its workers are documented and legally employed. Checking all I-9 forms on file will allow your business to find and fix mistakes, weed out outdated or incorrect records, and terminate any illegal workers you may have unwittingly been employing. It will also give you peace of mind and a solid footing on which to stand if ICE does decide to audit your business. If you’d like help with conducting an I-9 audit, ComplyRight offers a free useful guide here.
Your company should have its records prepared in case of an ICE audit. ICE investigators can show up anytime with a Notice of Inspection and ask to audit any business’ I-9 forms. It’s more likely to happen to companies in industries that have employed large numbers of illegal immigrants, but that does include auto repair. Considering this, it would be advisable to give your company’s record keeper advance notice so that he or she can audit the business ahead of time, check all records, and maintain those records in one easily accessible place.
In the event of an audit, your record keeper should present ICE investigators with the I-9 documentation, and offer only records that are required. Bear in mind that businesses are not required to allow any investigator access to nonpublic areas without a legal search warrant, and should not feel pressured into waiving the permitted notice time which is typically three days.
The costs of hiring illegal aliens have never been higher to businesses. This is true. The 10,000 new ICE agents the government is hiring in order to enforce immigration law will make an impact going forward, so it is especially important now that businesses accurately verify the identity and employment eligibility of new workers and make certain all is in compliance with current U.S. Government law.