Case: Employer May Lose 30% of Employees
Following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a clothing maker announced plans to lay off around one-fourth of its factory workers in Los Angeles. The employer, who had mostly Hispanic immigrants, was notified by ICE that 1,600 of its reported 5,600 factory workers could be illegal immigrants. Officials said the company could face thousands of dollars in fines if it determined that illegal workers were knowingly brought on by the company. The fines could top more than $800 per person, according to government regulations.
Employers Can Quickly Verify Employees’ Work Eligibility
The employer could have avoided this situation if it had verified its employees’ eligibility to legally work in the United States. All employers must have all new employees complete a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The employer must complete the I-9 within three days of the employee beginning work for pay. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides these and other forms with instructions on its website, http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis
U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States – either U.S. citizens or foreign citizens who have the necessary work authorization. People who have been admitted as permanent residents, granted asylum or refugee status, or have been admitted in work-related nonimmigrant classifications, may have employment authorization as a direct result of their immigration status. Others may need to apply individually for employment authorization.
E-Verify is an internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify is fast, free and easy to use – and it’s the best way employers can ensure a legal workforce. E-verify is found at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis
E-Verify compares the information an employee provides on the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, against millions of government records and generally provides results in three to five seconds. If the information matches, that employee is eligible to work in the United States. If there's a mismatch, E-Verify will alert the employer. The website also has information about how employers can petition for work authorization for a potential employee. While participation in E-Verify is voluntary for most employers (though mandatory for most government contractors and subcontractors), completion of Form I-9 is required of all employers.
Employers can sign up for free webinars on how to use E-verify at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=413628ac1dc0c210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=413628ac1dc0c210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD#For Employers
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com.
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