Costco Wholesale Corporation has partnered with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to strengthen its hiring practices and help ensure it is employing a legal workforce, becoming a member of ICE's Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE).
IMAGE is a free, voluntary program that allows private sector businesses across all industries to partner with ICE to reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents. Currently, over 100 businesses nationwide are IMAGE members.
Once an employer pursues IMAGE membership, ICE provides education and training on proper hiring procedures, including employment screening tools such as E-Verify and the Social Security Number Verification Services. The company's obligations under IMAGE are:
- Enroll in the E-Verify program within 60 days of the execution of the IMAGE agreement.
- Submit to an ICE Form I-9 inspection.
- Within 120 days of the execution of the IMAGE agreement, establish (or provide evidence of an existing) a written hiring and employment eligibility verification policy that includes internal Form I-9 audits at least once a year.
In exchange, ICE will:
- Publicly recognize the employer.
- Not subject the employer to a subsequent Form I-9 inspection for two years following the inspection required for IMAGE certification, absent any specific intelligence of unlawful employment.
- Grant the employer ample time to resolve discrepancies discovered during the Form I-9 inspection.
- Mitigate or waive fines if substantive violations are discovered on fewer than 50% of the Forms I-9.
- Issue fines at the statutory minimum of $110 per violation if more than 50% of the Forms I-9 are found to contain substantive violations.
Employers seeking to learn more about IMAGE membership should contact a local IMAGE coordinator at 206-442-2200 or visit http://www.ice.gov/image/.