You are in: Home > Immigration Law

The Form I-9 Battle Rages On...

27th April 2010
By Ann Allott in Immigration Law
RSS Legal RSS    Views: N/A

Because of the current worksite enforcement atmosphere it is more important than ever for employers to have a good faith compliance plan that meets the criteria set forth in this statute:

INA 274A (a) (3) provides a defense for a business or person that establishes it has complied in good faith with the requirements of the law correctly using the Form I-9 with respect to the employment of an alien in the United States.

In other words, if you complete the Form I-9 correctly for every new hire and you do not acquire constructive knowledge and you use E-Verify, you will be able to demonstrate "good faith" in complying with the law. You should not have to worry about going to jail or going bankrupt if your business is the subject of an I 9 audit or raid by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

Until recently, businesses have failed to take the Form I-9 seriously. Because the law was not vigorously enforced for many of its 23 years, some industries have become dependent on comparatively cheaper, undocumented workers who, because of their length of employment are highly skilled, irreplaceable workers. Employers argue the survival of their business depends upon the undocumented workers. Workers' rights advocates argue illegal immigrants depress their wages and working conditions. This debate has caused special laws concerning employer sanctions in all 50 States. The battle is raging!

While the battle is raging, the employer remains the target for enforcement and the person most responsible for stopping undocumented workers from coming into the US workforce. This has put a huge burden on some employers who must choose to downsize their business, lose key workers, or face many serious criminal charges or bankruptcy because of steep fines and employer sanctions.

Form I-9 verification of employment eligibility is the sole responsibility of the employer. The law requires every employer to obtain and keep on file positive evidence that they have checked each employee's identity and U.S. work eligibility.

Because all enforcement is selective, those choosing to comply with the Form I-9 law are doing so on an unfair playing field with employers who have not been targeted. It puts employers who try to comply with the law at a huge disadvantage in the marketplace, hiring and training US workers, while providing dishonest employers with an advantage.

Fear of going to jail and/or paying fines that will bankrupt their business is the motivation that compels many employers to start an in-house clean up of their personnel files, paperwork, and hiring practices. Knowing how to start with a Form I-9 compliance plan is the most difficult part, but also the most important.

Many businesses do not realize the importance of the Form I-9 and how easy it is to make errors and omissions that can be extremely costly. Some employers are also in danger of accusations of discriminatory hiring practices based on the improper use of the Form I-9 that puts companies at great risk. To avoid employer sanctions, fines and other penalties, employers should clean up their paperwork, workforce and procedures.

Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification

Allott Immigration Law Firm specializes in all aspects of immigration law. Our team of dedicated lawyers assists clients on a worldwide basis with Form I-9 Compliance, Employer Sanctions, Visas, Detention & Removal Proceedings, Citizenship & Naturalization and U.S. Passports.

Allott Immigration Law
This article is free for republishing
Bookmark and Share

Ask a Question about this Article

powered by Yedda