The best protection for employers seeking to comply with the law is to keep accurate paperwork demonstrating your good faith efforts to comply with these complex and confusing immigration laws.
Three steps that will help:
- 1. Keep complete Form I-9s for all employees hired after November 6, 1986, in one main file, with copies of the documents that the employees provided to verify their eligibility to work. Starting December 26, 2007, employers were required use a newly revised Form I-9. The latest version of Form I-9 and a listing of the documentation required as proof of eligibility to work in the U.S. may be obtained at www.uscis.gov. You can find the revision date of the Form I-9 you have on the lower right corner of the form; the latest version has a revision date of 06/16/08.
- 2. Consider using the E-Verify system to check the validity of the information provided by your employees. E-Verify is an online social security number/visa confirmation system that is offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security. Be advised, though, that E-Verify has both risks and benefits. Use of E-Verify provides a defense against an Immigration and Customs Enforcement accusation that the employer had “constructive knowledge” of an employee’s false documentation. However, it could also be used to prove that an employer notified by E-Verify that the employee’s documentation is questionable knowingly violated the law unless the employer takes action to get accurate documentation or terminate the employee. While E-Verify is mandatory for government contractors and for employers in some states, it still is voluntary for all other employers. Sign up at https://www.e-verify.gov/node/754.
- 3. In the event that your organization receives a no-match letter or a notice of suspect documents from the SSA, follow the safe harbor procedures outlined in this article.