Do you own or manage a business in what some feel is a “targeted” industry… industries known for employing a large percentage of non-U.S citizens? A few of the obvious industries that come to mind are restaurants, hotels, roofing companies, landscaping businesses, and equestrian facilities. It is often thought that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) targets these types of businesses for worksite enforcement inspections and Form I-9 compliance.
It is every employer’s responsibility to verify both the identity and work eligibility of every person they hire by having correctly completed Forms I-9 on file for every employee. Failure to comply with Form I-9 requirements can lead to employer sanctions including large fines, criminal indictments, and even prison sentences. Additionally, the impact on a company’s image due to negative press as well as significant legal costs can be substantial.
Due to increased enforcement worksite actions by ICE, many so called “high risk” industries are looking to E-Verify to see if it makes sense to start using the system before being required to do so. Many states as well as most Federal government contracts already require the use of E-Verify. Traditionally, many employers have viewed E-Verify as a hassle due to the time required to learn how to use the system and the number of potential employees a “tentative non-confirmation” could prevent them from hiring.
E-Verify is a free online service that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the U.S. It does not replace the Form I-9. E-Verify compares the information provided against 455 million records in the (SSA) database and 80 million records in the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) immigration databases. Results are typically returned within a few seconds.
Employers who use E-Verify may lessen the odds of receiving no-match letters because the E-Verify system will kick out the no-matches at the outset, so the employee will not be hired. As reported in our blog post “No-Match Letters Cause Concern for Employers“, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has resumed sending out no-match letters when the name and social security number of an employee do not match. No-match letters can be time consuming and costly to resolve. Employers who ignore or fail to resolve no-match letters are thought to be targets for enforcement actions by ICE.
In the current regulatory environment, employment eligibility verification is a hot button issue. In addition to making use of the E-Verify system employers should also consider:
- Training the appropriate personnel to properly complete the Form I-9. Attend the Allott Immigration Law Firm Form I-9 Training Seminar on October 25, 2011
- Developing a Company Compliance Plan
- Conducting an independent 3rd party Form I-9 audit
ICE investigations continue to increase. Be proactive. Take a good look at your employment eligibility verification processes and get the help you need. Contact the Allott Immigration Law Firm for help with these or other immigration issues.