Overview: The Immigration Reform and Control Act requires all U.S.
employers to verify the employment eligibility and identity of all employees as
of November 6, 1986. This includes both identity and work eligibility.
Employer Responsibility: It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the appropriate documentation is provided by every new employee hired after November 6th, 1986. There are stiff penalties for not being able to provide Form I-9 for all employees upon request. The employer has the right to refuse the employee to continue to work. There are certain exceptions as to who Form I-9 is applicable too such as independent contractors, employees hired from employment agencies, and employees hired before November 7, 1986.
Penalties for not compliance with Form I9:
- Employers who fail to properly complete, retain, or make I-9 Forms available for inspection, fines range from $100 to $1,100 per individual I-9.
- For employers who knowingly hire or knowingly continue to employ unauthorized workers, civil penalties range from $250 to $11,000 per violation.
- For employers engaging in a pattern or practice of knowingly hiring or continuing to employ unauthorized workers, criminal penalties can be as much as $3,000 per unauthorized employee and/or 6 months of imprisonment.
- Even though the employer is responsible for providing a newly hired employee with Form I9, the new employee must still complete Section 1 of Form I-9 by the end of the first day of work to be in compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act. In the event that the company is not aware of this legal requirement, it is strongly recommended that any new employee provide the employer with Form I9 to ensure that his or her new employment is in compliance in addition to give a good first impression.
- Genuineness of work eligibility and identity documents
- The employer must review the genuineness of the documents provided the employee.
Employers may encounter the following two scenarios:
- A document accepted is not genuine
- The document accepted is genuine but does not belong to the person that provided it
The employer can refuse to accept a document that does not appear to be genuine.
If the prospective new employee cannot provide an acceptable document, he or she
should not be allowed to continue to work. The Immigration Reform and Control
Act of 1986 (IRCA) makes it unlawful for United States employers to knowingly
hire or continue to employ unauthorized workers. Whether the illegal employment
is intentional or merely due to lack of knowledge may still lead to fines as
defined by the Department of Homeland Security.