Hospitality Labor and Employment Law Blog

Hospitality Labor and Employment Law Blog

Category Archives: Immigration

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OCAHO Continues to Enforce Form I-9 Violations in Hospitality and Construction Industries

By Matthew S. Groban and Robert S. Groban, Jr.

The OCAHO has recently issued two Form I-9 enforcement decisions involving hospitality and construction industry employers that should be of interest to all our clients.

In United States v. Symmetric Solutions, Inc. d/b/a Minerva Indian Cuisine, 10 OCAHO no. 1209 (OCAHO February 6, 2014), an OCAHO Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") upheld a $77,000 fine imposed by Immigration Customs Enforcement ("ICE") against a restaurant in Alpharetta, Georgia ("Restaurant"), for Form I-9 violations. ICE claimed that the Restaurant failed to prepare/present Forms I-9 for more than 80 employees, failed to ensure that several … Continue Reading

Immigration Update

Robert Groban and the Immigration Law Group of Epstein Becker Green recently issued an alert that will be of interest to employers. Following are the main topic headings:

OCAHO Provides a Roadmap for Reducing Fines for Form I-9 Violations

By:  Robert S. Groban, Jr. and Matthew S. Groban

The recent decision by the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (“OCAHO”) in United States v. The Red Coach Rest., Inc., 10 OCAHO No. 1200 (2013) provides a roadmap for employers seeking to reduce fines sought by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) for Form I-9 violations.  In Red Coach, the ICE complaint alleged that Red Coach: (1) failed to prepare Form I-9’s for nine employees within 3 days of their hire, and/or failed to present the forms to ICE upon request; and (2) failed to ensure proper completion of Form I-9’s for … Continue Reading

Restaurant Sues Former Chef to Recover H-1B Visa Expenses When He Quits Before his Contract Expired

By: Robert S. Groban, Jr. and Matthew S. Groban

On June 28, 2013, a District of Columbia restaurant sued its former executive chef to recover the expenses incurred to secure his H-1B visa.  See Rasika West End LLC v. Tyagi, No. 13-0004426 (D.C. Super. Ct. filedJune 28, 2013). According to the complaint, the employer entered into a thirty-six (36) month contract with the H-1B employee, and claimed that it would take that long to recover, among other things, funds spent to secure the approved H-1B petition the employee needed to assume the position. The complaint further alleges that the restaurant was … Continue Reading

Government Shutdown and Its Threat to the Immigration Process

We recommend this recent client alert on Epstein Becker Green’s website: "Special Immigration Alert: The Immigration Ripple Effect of a Government Shutdown," by Robert Groban, Jr., Pierre Georges Bonnefil, Patrick Brady, Jang Im, and Greta Ravitsky, our colleagues at Epstein Becker Green.

Following is an excerpt:

The looming prospect of a Government shutdown will have a significant impact on the immigration process. Activities of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be largely unaffected because it is funded by the fees it collects. The shutdown, however, may affect the ability of applicants … Continue Reading

Special Immigration Alert: New H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Season Starts April 2, 2012

Remember that all new H-1B petitions must be filed on March 30, 2012, to ensure that they are counted toward the 2013 H-1B cap.

The annual H-1B season has arrived! The federal government is authorized by statute to approve only 65,000 new H-1B visas each fiscal year, plus an additional 20,000 H-1B visas set aside for applicants who have master’s degrees from accredited American universities. The federal government’s fiscal year begins on October 1, but the governing regulations permit employers to apply for new H-1B non-immigrant visas up to six months in advance. Hence, the filing date is March 30, … Continue Reading

Immigration Update

By:  Robert S. Groban, Jr.

Many of our hospitality clients are revisiting immigration requirements to see if there are any advantages that they have overlooked. One overlooked advantage is the USCIS’s E-Verify system. Employers know that the IRCA requires them to satisfy the Form I-9 requirements.  Many have found this difficult to implement and have been the targets of worksite enforcement operations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) that are costly to defend and often result in significant fines. Traditionally, many hospitality employers have looked at the E-Verify system as something to be avoided due to the time required … Continue Reading

Bay Area Restaurant Chain Owners Face Criminal Charges for Employing Illegal Aliens

By:  Robert S. Groban, Jr.

On December 6, 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco announced that the owners of the El Balazo restaurant chain in the Bay Area had been charged in a 20-count criminal Information with tax fraud and harboring illegal aliens.  These charges arise out of a raid made by federal agents in May 2008 that resulted in the arrest of 64 illegal aliens at several of these restaurants.  The Information charges the owners with conspiracy to commit tax evasion, tax evasion, harboring illegal aliens for financial gain, and submitting false Social Security numbers for undocumented workers … Continue Reading

Hospitality Immigration Alert

By:  Robert S. Groban, Jr.

Missouri Man Convicted in Scheme to Place Undocumented Workers in Hotels

On October 28, 2010, a Missouri man was convicted by the U.S. District Court in Missouri for his role in a racketeering scheme that involved placing undocumented workers at hotels in 14 states, including several hotels in the Kansas City, Missouri, area. United States v. Dougherty, No. 4:09-CR-00143 (W.D. Mo. Oct. 10, 2010). Beth Phillips, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, indicated that “Mr. Kristin Dougherty was found guilty of racketeering, participating in a Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (‘RICO’) … Continue Reading

GAO Report on H-2B Program Portends Added Scrutiny for Hospitality Employers

By:      Robert S. Groban, Jr.

 

On November 2, 2010, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a Report on the H-2B nonimmigrant program (Report).   This Report examines fraud and abuse by examining 10 criminal prosecutions of recruiters and employers participating in the H-2B program. This program allows employers in the hospitality and other industries with a onetime occurrence, peak load, seasonal or intermittent employment needs to supplement their domestic workforce with foreign workers whenever U.S. workers cannot be located for the positions.

The Report found significant fraud and abuse of the H-2B program by both employers and recruiters in the prosecutions … Continue Reading

Hospitality Immigration Update

By:  Robert S. Groban, Jr.

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Proposed Rule on H-2B Wage Rates

 

On October 4, 2010, the Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of

Labor (“DOL”), issued a proposed rule that would require employers to pay H-2B and

American workers recruited in connection with an H-2B job application a “wage that meets

or exceeds the highest of: the prevailing wage, the federal minimum wage, the state minimum

wage or the local minimum wage.” The proposed rule was published on October 5, 2010, in

the Federal Register. Interested parties have 30 days to comment.

 … Continue Reading

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