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California work visa: Number of audits increasing

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2013 | Employment Immigration

Companies in California and the rest of the nation have come under further scrutiny by Immigration and Customs Enforcement auditors. ICE audited more companies than ever in 2012, searching for employed illegal immigrants. Over the span of five years, the number of I-9 forms rose from 250 to over 3,000, and fines increased by $12 million. With a work visa sometimes being difficult to obtain, many immigrants become frustrated when trying to bring in enough income to support their families, sometimes leading them to seek whatever employment they can find.

The goal of the audits is to ensure that companies are complying with regulations and to deter them from the practice of hiring illegal immigrants. However, the audits are causing companies to endure layoffs and disruptions of their daily operations. Current standards require all employees to complete an I-9, a form stating they are legally allowed to work in this country. Required identifying documentation need only pass a cursory inspection.

ICE auditors typically choose who they will audit based upon leads from the public, employees or other employers. Occasionally, a company is randomly audited. The types of companies audited tend to vary and include bakeries, construction companies and farms. Other companies include catering, ethnic stores and restaurants. Fines for employment immigration violations can range anywhere from below $100 to several hundred thousand dollars.

Employment immigration can be frustrating to California immigrants who need to find work. This can lead them to companies who tend to make a practice of hiring undocumented immigrants. However, this may result in job loss and serious fines for the company. Getting a work visa can be a difficult process because of federal laws, so people in this situation may want to obtain knowledgeable assistance to help them ensure they are able to navigate the complex area of immigration law.

Source: Fox News, “Employer audits skyrocket in ICE’s hunt for those hiring illegal immigrants,” Dec. 23, 2012