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Are You Violating Immigration Laws?

Many employers are not aware of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

The act requires employers to verify that newly hired employees provide valid documentation verifying their identity and legal eligibility to work in the United States.

The 1986 law mandates the use of the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 — a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services form used by an employer to verify an employee’s identity and to establish that the worker is able to accept employment in the United States.

Employers must complete Form I-9 to document verification of the identity and employment authorization of each new employee (both citizen and non-citizen)

What must be done after hiring

The I-9 form requires input from both the employee and employer and must be completed within three (3) business days of the date employment begins. If the new hire claims that the necessary documents proving their identity were lost, stolen or destroyed, the person must provide a receipt for replacement documents within the three days.

The employer is responsible for ensuring that the forms are completed properly, and in a timely manner. The I-9 is not required for unpaid volunteers or for contractors. However, a company could still find itself liable if it contracts work to a company knowing that the contractor employs unauthorized workers.

Check that the employee has completed all fields:

  • Name — The employee must use his/her legal name in correct order;
  • Address, date of birth, Social Security number;
  • Citizenship attestation;
  • A lawful permanent resident must provide an 8- or 9- digit Alien Number;
  • An Alien Authorized to work must provide the date work authorization expires and
    an Alien number or an 11-digit admission number from the form I-94;
  • Sign and Date — The form is not valid without a signature;
  • Preparer and/or Translator Certification — If someone other than the employee completed Section 1.

Penalties for non-compliance

The Immigration and Control Act includes penalties for I-9 noncompliance.

According to the I-9 form, “federal law provides for imprisonment and/or fines for false statements or use of false documents in connection with the completion of this form.”

  • An employer who hires an unauthorized worker can be fined between $250 and $5,500 per worker.
  • In addition, such an employer can be barred from federal government contracts for a year.
  • An employee who knowingly accepts fraudulent documentation can also be criminally prosecuted under other immigration laws.

Form I-9 is designed to determine who is authorized to work in the United States. Its purpose is not to determine who is and who is not a citizen. While all citizens are authorized to work here, it is not always easy to recognize who is and is not a citizen because of the diverse heritage of our country.

Employers must do an I-9 form for every employee, not just those who appear to be non-citizens.

You may terminate an employee who fails to produce the required documents within three business days of the date employment begins. However, you must apply these practices uniformly to all employees and not just to those who do not appear to be citizens.

Paul Gerber

Paul Gerber

Paul Gerber, in charge of business development, Paul joined parent organization of, Application Research in 2008 specializing in background screening for the property management industry. With the expansion of the employment screening division, Paul was the natural choice to head up marketing. With over 40 years of people management experience, Paul served as Vice President and sales manager for a large Los Angeles area real estate developer, and Chief Financial officer for a national mortgage servicing firm.
If you have any questions for Paul He can be reached at 855-361-1667 or by email at [email protected]

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