What Obligations Do I Have As an Employer With Respect to the Immigration Status of My Employees?
Under Federal law, all employers must ensure that their employees complete I-9 forms that contain the employee’s true and accurate name as well as their social security number. To verify this information, an employer is required to request documentation of the employee’s identity along with the employee’s I-9 form. To reduce human errors and safeguard against employee misconduct, employers should also have two managerial employees separately review all 1-9 forms. Additionally, it is best practices for an employer to hire a third party on annual basis to review all I-9 forms.
Can I Keep A Copy of the Documents Used to Verify an Employee’s Information on an I-9 form?
Yes, under the Immigration and Nationality Act, an employer may retain copies of documents used by an employee in conjunction with their I-9 form, but only for the purpose of complying with the verification requirements.
How Do I Determine if an Employee is Eligible for Employment in the U.S.?
The Federal government has established “E-Verify” to aid employers in determining the employment eligibility of potential employees. E-Verify is an internet based system operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that is free and available in all 50 states. E-Verify provides automated links to services that permit employers to type in employee social security numbers to determine eligibility.
Do I Ever Have to Re-verify the Employment Eligibility of My Employees?
Yes. The I-9 form requires employers to note the expiration dates of aliens with respect to their work authorizations. On or before the expiration of an employee’s work authorization, the employer must re-verify that the employee is still authorized to work in the United States.
Can I Discriminate on the Basis of Employment Eligibility?
Yes, an employer should not hire an employee who is not eligible to work in the United States. HOWEVER, an employer is not permitted to discriminate on the basis of citizenship status once an employee is considered eligible to work in the United States.
This article was prepared for NHLRA by Christopher T. Vrountas of Vrountas, Ayer & Chandler, P.C. NHLRA members are entitled to 30 minutes of free legal counsel per incident from the employment law experts at Vrountas, Ayer & Chandler. Questions on employee eligibility? Contact NHLRA at (603)-228-9585.