Aug 08

Business owners and immigration reform

Sweeping immigration reform is coming, and that means that business owners need to address the issue before they are hit with provisions that they were not expecting. Specifically, they need to know which procedures are the same and which are different. Up to this point, businesses have focused on enforcing immigration laws, due to increased enforcement by the Bush and Obama administrations.

There is however, one particular form that employers should pay attention to: USCIS Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9 is an employment verification form, and it must be filled out for each new employee, and that means everyone. In recent years there has been an increase in I-9 audits, with larger companies being targeted more often that smaller businesses. It is highly recommended that all employers perform their own in-house audits to make sure they are in compliance. Recently fines and back pay have been levied against employers who fired immigrants because the employer did not properly process their I-9 forms.

Another important program is E-Verify, which streamlines the process of filtering out undocumented aliens. E-Verify is not yet mandatory because the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act has not yet passed in the House. When it does it will allow all I-9 applicants to be matched with names of those who are illegible to work in the United States.