Infosys Limited’s recent $34 million settlement with the U.S. Government resolved the threat of criminal charges against the company based on allegations of visa fraud. During the course of the investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audited the company’s Form I-9 files and reported that more than 80% of the company’s Forms I-9 contained “substantive” errors meriting civil money penalties. Using the company’s reported U.S. headcount and turnover rate, this translates to roughly over 13,500 violations and total potential civil money penalties of over $12.6 M at a base penalty rate of $935 per violation according to the ICE fine-setting matrix. Infosys voluntarily made a substantial investment in a new electronic Form I-9 compliance system and companywide Form I-9 compliance training in an effort to demonstrate its commitment to immigration compliance. Further, as a condition of settlement, Infosys agreed to hire an independent monitor at its expense to audit 4% the company’s I-9 forms annually and file I-9 compliance reports with ICE for two years, and to subject itself to unannounced reviews by ICE auditors. Consulting firms that are dependent on a U.S. workforce of temporary foreign workers would be well advised to invest in a confidential Form I-9 compliance audit to assess the weaknesses in their compliance systems and initiate corrective action before being served with a 3-day notice of inspection by ICE. Making such an investment could save a company millions of dollars in fines and penalties for paperwork violations.

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