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 The days of speculation may have ended. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) acting director recently made clear that Form I-9 audits and worksite enforcement actions will surge in the coming year. In line with the Trump Administration’s tough position on immigration and its budget requests, most employers have anticipated increased immigration-focused audits and enforcement actions. But we did not see a noticeable uptick during the first three quarters of 2017. Lest employers become complacent, on…
On Monday, July 10, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a game-changing final rule regarding the use of arbitration clauses in consumer contracts.  The Rule is effective 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register and applies only to contracts entered into more than 180 days after that date.  The final rule comes as no surprise—as we reported here, here, and here, the Bureau has forecast for more than…
On Monday, July 10, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a game-changing final rule regarding the use of arbitration clauses in consumer contracts.  The Rule is effective 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register and applies only to contracts entered into more than 180 days after that date.  The final rule comes as no surprise—as we reported here, here, and here, the Bureau has forecast for more than…
Employers using the H-1B visa program should take note as additional site visits may be on the horizon.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), part of the Department of Homeland Security, recently announced a new targeted approach to detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse and increased site visits of H-1B employers. In selecting worksite visits, USCIS will focus on H-1B cases where: USCIS cannot confirm the employer’s business information through commercially available data; There…
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has officially published the long awaited revised Form I-9.  The new Form I-9 and instructions can be found at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9. The clock is now ticking— While employers may begin using the new Form I-9 immediately, all employers are required to implement use of the newly revised Form I-9 by January 22, 2017.  All previous versions of Form I-9 will be invalid after this January date. The new…
The Department of Justice has raised the bar on penalties for violations of federal immigration law.  On June 30, 2016, DOJ issued an interim final rule that goes into effect on August 1, 2016.  This rule, implemented as an inflation adjustment, increases the fines for employing unauthorized workers, for Form I-9 paperwork violations, and for immigration-related discrimination.  These new fines increase the penalties from 35% to 96% depending on the nature and severity of the…
On March 31, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) issued a carefully worded technical assistance letter addressing the complex interplay between U.S. immigration and export control laws in the context of hiring and applicant screening. Although it provides limited new guidance, OSC’s letter is a reminder of the pitfalls companies of all sizes face in trying to navigate the overlapping requirements of these laws. The…
Electronic I-9 software can be very attractive to companies looking for efficiency and ensuring compliance. Not to mention the elimination of file drawers that once housed these voluminous paper I-9 files. However, buyers beware, not all electronic I-9 software meets the federal regulations’ requirements. And the problem for well-meaning companies: ICE will still hold the company liable for the faults of the software vendor if its technology fails to comply. Electronic I-9 usage is a…
The D.C. Circuit held oral arguments on April 12, 2016 in the case PHH Corp v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a case challenging the CFPB’s constitutionality as well as its interpretations of the Real Estate Procedures Settlement Act (RESPA), including its view that no statute of limitations applies to RESPA violations challenged by the Bureau in an administrative proceeding.   As we noted previously, CFPB Director Richard Cordray, in the Bureau’s first appellate decision,…
A company’s I-9 file, which often goes unnoticed by all but a few HR professionals, can carry significant risk.  Form I-9 files often serve as landmines for fines, penalties, and sanctions.  Companies can mitigate these risks by conducting periodic Form I-9 audits. This week, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued joint guidance for employers on conducting internal Form I-9 audits in compliance…