Reports of recent immigration raids at U.S. worksites indicate the extent to which the U.S. government views the employment verification process as key part of its enforcement investigations and its efforts to track down and remove undocumented workers inside this country. Immigration laws affecting employers
can be found throughout this website. Current immigration law counseling has been emphazising on employment verification services
and advising corporations about compliance with I-9 employment verification form and procedures
, as I-9 is the key document to good immigration related employer practices.
In 1986, the enactment of the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) as amended, required employers to verify the identity and eligibility of every worker, whether U.S. citizens or not, hired after November 6, 1986. IRCA created civil and criminal penalties to employers who knowingly hire or continue to employ persons who are not authorized to work in the United States. Those with a pattern and practice of violating the law are now subject to criminal sanctions. IRCA provided that employers and recruiters or referrers for a fee were required to complete and retain an Employment Verification form (Form I-9) for all employees, including United States citizens.
In 2003, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was created to enforce U.S. immigration and customs laws and verify employment compliance. Government Audits
Audits can be conducted by ICE or the Department of Labor. On receipt of notice to audit, company representatives should seek legal counsel immediately. An employer must be given three days notice before an audit takes place, although additional time may be negotiated. Since many employers are not able to distinguish valid employment authorization documents, the USCIS developed a Basic Pilot Employment Verification Program that allows employers to check employment authorization documents against a DHS and SSA databases.
In June 2006, a new interim rule published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), provided that employers who are required to complete and retain Forms I-9 may sign and retain these documents electronically. This rule does not require employers to adopt electronic storage technology.
With an increase in workplace enforcement and criminal penalties, it is more important than ever to emphasize to employers the importance of completing and maintaining I-9 forms properly. The following basic compliance measures are therefore recommended:
• Adopt an immigration compliance company protocol that responds to no-match letters received from the Social Security Administration, maintains safeguards against use of the verification process for unlawful discrimination, and assess the adherence to the “best practices” guidelines by the company’s contractors/subcontractors,
• Make sure the I-9 process does not violate discrimination and civil rights regulations;
• Ensure company’s compliance with I-9 Forms, arranging “mock-audits” by an external firm or a trained employee not otherwise involved in the I-9 process semi-annually;
• Develop an internal training program to address proper completion of the I-9 form as well as form maintenance.
Please visit the following useful links to learn more about employment verification and I-9 compliance.
Our firm develops complete immigration compliance protocols by conducting a “mock audit” in person at the company location or at our office based on copies of your I-9 forms. Reviewing I-9 forms provides you an opportunity to correct existing technical violations, train company representatives responsible for I-9 completion and tracking, and to help develop compliance procedures and company policies.
Please click on the following useful links to learn more about I-9 compliance and employer sanctions.