The practice of hiring unauthorized aliens, also commonly known as illegal immigrants, has become a national issue. Each state has set its own statutes on regulating the rights of illegal immigrants. According to Florida Statute Section 448.09, it is unlawful to knowingly employ, hire, recruit or refer any person who does not have authorization to work through immigration laws or the Attorney General of the United States.
To avoid the penalties set forth by Florida Statutes, anyone unsure of their liability should consult with a St. Petersburg construction attorney before hiring a worker whose legal status is in question.
The first time an employer is found guilty of hiring an illegal immigrant, Florida Statutes considers this act as a noncriminal violation. Per Florida Statute 775.08, this offense is punishable by a fine, forfeiture or some other civil penalty. Contractors who are found in violation of this statute may face a fine of $500 or less, regardless of how many illegal immigrants are employed at the time of the violation.
If an employer has been previously convicted of hiring an illegal immigrant and is convicted a second time, the charge changes from a noncriminal violation to a misdemeanor of the second degree. A misdemeanor is a criminal offense and under Florida Statute, can be punishable by up to one year of incarceration. For the hiring of an illegal immigrant, an employer could face up to 60 days in jail and another $500 fine, regardless of how many illegal immigrants are employed.
Any further convictions of employing illegal immigrants will be evaluated on a per worker basis. For each illegal immigrant, an employer could face 60 days in jail and another $500 fine.
Each situation is different, but anyone facing the penalties of hiring an illegal immigrant is advised to contact a St. Petersburg construction lawyer for help. If you suspect one of your employees is not a legal citizen, it is better to call for advice than risk the possible penalties.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.