TAMPA FLORIDA EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE FOR U.S. IMMIGRATION LAWS

GENERAL OVERVIEW OF EMPLOYER COMPLIANCE

Since 1986 the employment of unauthorized workers is illegal. In general, it is unlawful for a person or business entity to hire, recruit, or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States (U.S.), a worker who is known to be unauthorized for employment.

The law requires Employers to examine sufficient documentation to establish employment eligibility. The tool to examine documents and establish identity, employment authorization, or both, is the Form I-9.

A business owner may be liable for discrimination if it requests individuals to present specific documents instead of other valid documents. Also, many Employers neglect to request an individual attestation of employment authorization on Form I-9 in which the employee attests under penalty of perjury, that he or she is eligible for employment.

This form must be retained by the employer after completion and made available for inspection by officers of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL).

A focus of my Business Immigration Compliance practice is assisting Employers with compliance on Form I-9 and I routinely perform audits of I-9 forms and provide training to human resources departments on the proper completion and storage of I-9 records.

Take a moment and find out if you can benefit from my I-9 Compliance Services bycontacting me today to arrange a consultation.

Just below, you’ll see additional information and tools that the U.S. Government is making available to businesses…and using to keep tabs on immigration compliance.

THE E-VERIFY PROGRAM FOR IMMIGRATION STATUS

The E-Verify program is a web-based program that provides businesses with a way to electronically verify the employment authorization of newly-hired employees, regardless of citizenship.

Please keep in mind that the E-verify program is not to be used as a pre-employment screening tool for job applicants and using it for this purpose could violate federal anti-discrimination laws.

E-Verify is a free system and is voluntary to most employers.

However, some states, such as Arizona, have implemented laws that mandate registration in E-Verify. In the State of Florida, participation in E-Verify is not mandated for contractors and subcontractors performing services on state contracts.

But the federal government is currently amending its Federal Acquisition Regulations to require all Federal Contractors to utilize E-Verify. If the new regulations are implemented, it means Employers doing business in the State of Florida will be required to use E-Verify if the Employer wishes to do business with the federal government.

An Employer simply needs a working computer and access to the internet to participate in the program. E-Verify allows the employer to confirm the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees instantaneously and improves the accuracy of the I-9 process as well as wage and tax reporting.

To participate, the Employer must register and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU requires the Employer to give up certain rights so it’s extremely important for you to consult an attorney to fully understand how your rights might be altered.

Find out if the E-Verify program is right for your business by contacting me today to arrange a consultation.

IMMIGRATION NO-MATCH LETTERS

Another tool the government uses is the No-Match Letter. We all know the Social Security Administration (SSA) processes W-2 forms and then credits social security earnings to workers.

If a name or social security number does not match the SSA records, the agency frequently issues a No-Match Letter to the Employer and employee in an attempt to obtain corrected information.

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made a regulation which will use No-Match Letters as evidence against an Employer if proper action was not taken in responding to the letter and the employee listed in the letter is an unauthorized worker.

While the No-Match Letter regulation has not been implemented due to lawsuits, DHS has reworked the regulation’s language and intends to implement it soon. The main point of this regulation is to impute constructive knowledge of hiring or employing an unauthorized worker to the Employer. In other words, they are watching you hiring processes very carefully.

Federal regulations have expanded the definition of “constructive knowledge” and it now includes the failure to take reasonable steps to address these scenarios:

  • Receipt of a No-Match Letter from the SSA;
  • An employee’s request for the Employer’s sponsorship of the employee for a labor certification or visa petition;
  • And receipt of a notice from DHS (usually after an I-9 audit) that the employee’s employment authorization documents presented in connection with completion of the I-9 form do not match DHS records.

The regulation does provide immunity from charges of constructive knowledge premised on No-Match Letters….if the Employer followed the procedures exactly as written.

Employers who fail to follow the No-Match Letters may not have immunity from a finding of constructive knowledge in the event of a civil or criminal investigation. Those types of investigations could result in fines and possible jail time for ownership and lower level employees of the business.

If, as an owner or manager of a business, you have trouble sleeping at night because you do not know how to respond to a No-Match Letter, why not spend 20 minutes and alleviate your anxiety by contacting me today to arrange your  consultation – or by calling me at (813) 679 5780.