There were 11.3 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. as of 2014, according to a November 2015 post at the Pew Research website. What sort of effect does a large illegal immigrant population have when it comes to the nation, especially as it relates to your business? Illegal immigrants make up about 5.1% of the U.S. labor force, so their impact on business appears in at least five different ways.
Federal civil and criminal fines for businesses hiring illegal immigrants are per employee, up to $10,000, and jail time may result. The administrative burdens on businesses to ensure they don’t hire illegal immigrants can also be costly. For example, checking a job applicant’s Social Security number for authenticity, or hiring a staffing company, is expensive.
Competitiveness and Profitability
Some employers believe that hiring illegal immigrants is beneficial because they’ll work for less. However, sources including the National Federation of Independent Business say that hiring illegal immigrants hurts a business over the long term. NFIB maintains that hiring illegal immigrants makes it harder for companies that obey immigration law to compete and turn a profit.
Homeland Security Scrutiny
Since 2009, the Department of Homeland Security has audited thousands of businesses suspected of hiring illegal immigrants. Many illegal workers toil in agriculture, construction, food service, hotels, motels, and in landscaping and DHS focuses much attention on those areas. Immigration lawyers are familiar with these audits states that companies are frequently subjected to severe DHS scrutiny, adding to their owners’ aggravation and worry.
Language and Cultural Barriers
In many cases, illegal immigrants are often poorly educated and speak little English. While many illegal immigrants can successfully perform a wide variety of low-skilled jobs, employers also must break through sometimes-difficult language and cultural barriers. Businesses with non-English-speaking employees, for instance, often spend money ensuring they understand employment, safety and health requirements.
Employee turnover costs may be higher with illegal immigrants constituting part of a business’s workforce. When states tighten their illegal immigration laws and increase business inspections, illegal immigrants typically melt away, leaving companies hiring them in a lurch. The costs to recruit and hire new employees can be very high.
Various immigration experts maintain that it’s always better to hire legal rather than illegal immigrants. While short-term profitability and competitiveness improve, in some cases, through hiring illegal immigrants, the long-term consequences seem to be mostly negative.
The information is this article is credited to Los Angeles immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C.