Saturday, December 31, 2011

USA - Validate Employment Eligibility Thru I-9 Form

(c) JNTConsulting
Every US Employer need to validate the eligibility of employment of anyone who will begin working for the company or organization. This function is normally executed by the Human Resource Professional who provides the Initial Orientation of the new employee at Day One.

Recently, the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS released the latest version of the I-9 Guide for immediate use by US employers. This new Guide bears a date as 06/01/11. US Employers are required to follow and maintain a documentation procedure for the compliance of I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility Verification Form). Instruction about the form’s content and how it should be administered is located on page 3 and 4 and page 5 bears the required and complete information and the page 6 illustrates the documents that will substantiate eligibility for employment within the continental United States of America. The new 2011 version of the I-9 document with expiration date as 8/31/12, can be found at USCIS website.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published higher civil fines against employers that violate federal immigration laws; as of March 27, 2008, monetary penalties increased approximately 25 percent. Penalties will be given on a per-alien basis—if an employer knowingly employed or continues to employ five unauthorized citizens, five separate fines may be charged.

In 2011, the Department of Justice has been continuously prosecuting employers who were violating the Employment Eligibility Verification. The Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on work-authorized employees during the hiring and employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status or national origin. 

“All workers who are authorized to work in the United States have the right to work without encountering discrimination because of their immigration status or national origin,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We are committed to vigorously protecting authorized workers from discrimination in the hiring process and ensuring that employers uphold their obligations under the law.” 

To see the most recent case in regards to Employment Verification.

I-9 Inspections Campaign 

Per SHRM Website, The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has launched a new I-9 inspection campaign across the country, targeting employers suspected of employing unauthorized workers. These “inspections” are announced by service of a subpoena calling for production of Forms I-9 for all current employees and for all employees terminated over the past year. You can also find information at the USCIS Website.

“Employers may not treat authorized workers differently during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division.   “Federal law prohibits discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process, and the Justice Department is committed to enforcing the law.”

To see the most recent Settlement to an Employment Eligibility Violation.

The Rule on Employment Eligibility is very clear on what are required and needed in order to complete the complete procedure by a Human Resources Professional or his/her representative who is conducting the verification.

Employers found in violation to the I-9 Form will be penalized with fines and at certain situation a jail time will be imposed. 

It is always necessary to be mindful about the organizational risks that are related to non-compliance of the Eligibility of Employment Certification. If you are not certain that you are following the complete regulation, hire an experienced human capital consultant who  can assist you with the compliance and management.  

It is recommended to keep handy a current e-copy of the  I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility Verification Form) and the Employer's Guide for Employment Eligibility Verification.

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