On July 1, 2016, the U.S Department of Labor issued an interim final rules to adjust the amounts of civil penalties assessed or enforced in its regulations. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 as amended by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Inflation Adjustment Act) requires agencies to adjust the levels of civil monetary penalties with an initial catch-up adjustment, followed by annual adjustments for inflation. The Department is required to calculate the catch-up and subsequent annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers.

The new rules are effective August 1, 2016, with respect to violations occurring after November 2, 2015. The penalty levels already in place will continue to apply to violations occurring on or before November 2, 2015, as well as to assessments made prior to August 1, 2016 whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015.

Increased penalties are significant and highlight the importance of being compliance with regulatory requirements by the employers. Violations such as incomplete or missing I-9s, hiring workers not authorized to work in U.S falls under DHS penalty violations.

The penalty increases are significant as fines are being adjusted for inflation rate from the date of their initial enactment. For I-9 paper work violations there is a drastic increase in the civil penalty range from a $110 – $1,100 penalties to a penalty range of between $216 – $2,156.

For the unlawful employment of immigrant workers the minimum penalty imposed by the Justice Department (DOJ) will increase from $375 to $539, while the maximum fine will go from $3,200 to $4,313. Violators with third or subsequent offenses will be subjected to a new maximum penalty of $21,563 for each unauthorized worker.

Civil penalty ranges related to the H-1B visas are being raised depending on the violation and it includes the following:

– For H-1B Labor Condition Application (LCA) violations, civil penalties will be raised to $1,782.00 per violation; and

– For H-1B violations associated with wages, working conditions, notifications, recruitment or discrimination against an employee, civil penalties will be raised up to $7,251.00 per violations.

– The maximum penalty for displacing a U.S. worker with an H-1B worker in the period of beginning 90 days before and ending 90 days after filing of an H-1B petition, civil penalties will increase from $35,000.00 to $50,578.00 per violation.

For more information, or to speak to one of our immigration and nationality professionals, please feel free to e-mail us at or call us at 201-670-0006 (x107).