Should you have your own business or have employees, you are, under national law, a representative to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (previously the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). To reduce the hiring of undocumented immigrants, Congress established the I-9 verification process, which requires companies to confirm the employment eligibility of workers. DHS investigators utilise these I-9 forms to determine whether companies are hiring undocumented workers.
I-9 forms are a positive thing for companies since I-9 forms provide companies with a”good faith” defence if the company hires a worker who’s operating illegally in the United States.
Employers may obtain I-9 forms from the DHS (800-870-3676), or download them in the agency’s Internet site.
DHS can start an investigation about a business using illegal workers at any moment. The standard in estimating the wrongfulness of their company’s conduct is whether a reasonable person would believe that the employee was illegally employed.
Every employer must complete I-9 forms, even if the company has only one employee. Hiring independent contractors do not trigger the requirement to complete an I-9 form.
If you, as a company, receive information and documents which, on their face, look valid and consistent, you don’t have to research further. However, if you get apparent forgeries, information that does not match the worker or other information that makes you think you need to ask more questions, then you have to keep your query as to the worker’s immigration status.
A fantastic business practice would be to run yourself an audit or hire an immigration lawyer to audit your I-9’s and supporting documents to be sure they comply with law. Here are a few do’s and don’ts when heading through the I-9 verification procedure:
During an employee’s first day, provide the employee a list of documents which may be utilized to verify status. Decide whether the employee already has employment authorization. Ask questions about name changes. Make certain documents supplied by the worker are on the lists of acceptable documents. A fantastic immigration attorney can help you with these lists. Review documents for credibility. Are there obvious signs of tampering or forgery? Reject documents if they are clearly fakes. If a document appears valid on its face and is recorded as a skilled document on the I-9, take the record. Retain I-9’s for three years, or one year after employment ends, whichever is more. I-9 forms can be inspected by DHS on three days’ notice, without even a warrant or subpoena.
Employers cannot discriminate against an employee because of citizenship status or national origin through”document abuse,” that is asking the worker for more files than necessary or different documents to show employment eligibility. However, companies do have responsibilities to verify employment eligibility as outlined in this post.
An immigration lawyer can offer you guidance in systematising these procedures to ensure DHS compliance.