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Immigration Reform Updates that Can Affect Business Owners

Immigration has been a hot topic ever since President Donald Trump was elected. New changes have put a focus on new and potential laws that will impact employers all over the country, including the update to the I-9 form and potential expansion of the E-Verify program.

Image of USCIS. Learn about the new I-9 form, E-Verify, and how immigration reforms affect small businesses.

The New I-9 Form

Federal law requires that American employers have new employees complete the I-9 form to verify employment eligibility to dissuade companies from hiring people not authorized to work in the U.S. A new version of the I-9 form went into effect earlier this year, so U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that any employees hired after Jan. 21 must now fill out the latest version of the I-9 form within three days of their start date. Existing employees do not have to complete the new form.

This new version of the I-9 form also comes with an increase in penalties for employers who fail to use it. According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), those fines are almost double that of past penalties, while fines for unlawful employment of immigrant workers also received a major increase.

Mandatory E-Verify?

The electronic verification program, also known as E-Verify, allows businesses to determine if their employees are eligible to work in the U.S. The program has been mandatory for most businesses since it was introduced in 1996. That may be about to change. 

SHRM reports that E-Verify could become mandatory for all U.S. businesses. Trump’s proposed 2018 budget even set aside $15 million to help implement mandatory E-Verify programs. The current program still has some issues that will need to be fixed before implementation can go into full effect, but that mandatory E-Verify is closer than employers may have thought.

Prepare for the Future

As immigration reform continues to be a big topic in our nation’s capital, business owners need to prepare themselves. It can be hard to stay up to date on new legislation or government initiatives, which is why it can help to turn to an expert for help. 

As a Professional Employer Organization, we can keep you up to date on how immigration reform can affect your human resource functions. We are also an enrolled E-Verify agent and can help get you prepared for the future. Contact us today to learn more. 

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