With immigration law shifting almost daily, it is hard to get a bead on what the future holds for small businesses that employ foreign workers.
Clearly, anyone who is starting a new business must be aware of immigration law as it applies to what you can and cannot do when hiring employees.
So the question is, what are the immigration laws that are most applicable to small businesses and why are they so important to understand?
Verification of Employees Is a Key Immigration Law
Before you make any hiring decisions, you must verify that every prospective employee is eligible to work in the U.S.
In fact, you must ensure worker eligibility within three days of hiring a new employee by completing an Employment Verification Form, also known as an I-9 form.
In completing this form, you must ensure that your employees are either U.S. citizens or are eligible to work legally in the U.S. through their residence status.
And you must also make sure to keep every I-9 form for a minimum of three years, or for at least one year after you terminate an employee or that employee leaves.
Comply With Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
Another important immigration law you must comply with is the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) ensuring that you do not discriminate against any prospective employee based on citizenship, national origin or immigration status.
And as part of complying with the IRCA, you must also ensure that you only request worker eligibility documentation that is specified on the I-9 form.
If you ask for any worker eligibility documentation not listed on the I-9 form, the prospective employee can file a discrimination claim against your business that could be very costly.
Be Aware of the Government Agencies That Oversee Immigration Law
It’s also important that you are aware that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) handles all issues related to employee verification, and that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has the authority to conduct workplace audits to ensure that all your I-9 forms are properly completed and filed.
You can refer any questions you have regarding immigration law issues related to your business to these two agencies to avoid paying penalties down the road.
Helping You With Immigration Law
Because immigration law is in constant flux, new regulations could affect your business if you employ foreign employees, or rely on foreign-based workers on a seasonal basis. And because immigration law is always changing, you need to hire the services of a law firm that has experience handling these types of cases. The lawyers and support staff at Joubert Law firm can help you through the most challenging immigration issues. Contact us today to take advantage of a free legal consultation.