Regulatory Compliance for Employers

Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. provides representation relating to all immigration law-related regulatory compliance responsibilities of employers. We provide comprehensive and critical human resources staff training relating to the correct procedures for completing the Forms I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification, provide guidance in company program development and compliance for otherwise ensuring a rigorous employment eligibility verification protocol, and draft corporate polices addressing staff expectations and communication to reduce the possibility of unauthorized hires and continuing employment resulting in adverse actions against employers by the government. As part of these services, we perform external audits of Forms I-9, and of then-current employment eligibility verification practices, and afterward make recommendations with respect to identified problems and concerning changes needed to ensure a robust and dependable overall regulatory compliance program. We also counsel and advise employers in responding to Social Security No-Match Letters, and consult with employers regarding the benefits and possible detriments of using the E-Verify system. Finally, although no employer ever wants to find itself in this position, we provide representation in the event of a government audit by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Employers with comprehensive immigration law-related regulatory compliance programs have peace of mind rooted in a properly documented and employment-authorized workforce, and avoid critical business interruptions arising from government enforcement actions resulting in a loss of workers.

An odd fact about U.S. immigration law is that some provisions of it apply to persons and entities who might not expect that they have any connection whatsoever with it.

Since November 6, 1986, employers in the U.S. have been required to verify the employment eligibility and identity of all new hires, and to document that action by completing a Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification for each person. This requirement applies to all new hires, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Employers are subject to civil and criminal penalties should they hire or continue to employ persons knowing that those persons are not authorized to work in the U.S.

The vast majority of employers are aware of these requirements, with the possible exception of newer employers who are perhaps overwhelmed with getting up to speed concerning the various legal requirements for new businesses overall. Importantly, even individuals who hire others are in many cases required to comply with the employment eligibility verification requirements, as well.

E-Verify is one of the tools that some employers use to further confirm the employment eligibility of employees. Participation in the program operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) is generally voluntary. The electronic E-Verify program allows employers to verify the employment eligibility of workers after the hiring process is completed. Employers enter in E-Verify information from the completed Form I-9, and the information is transmitted to the Social Security Administration and USCIS to confirm whether the information provided by the new employee matches government records and whether the employee is eligible to accept employment in the U.S. Use of the program is one way to confirm the validity of the Social Security numbers submitted in the I-9 completion process.

In contrast to the employment eligibility verification process which despite its long history, some employers – especially newer ones – are still not aware of, other regulatory compliance requirements of U.S. immigration law come to the direct attention of U.S. employers who petition for certain classifications of nonimmigrant workers. For example, as a pre-requisite for the approval of a petition and the granting of a visa, a Labor Condition Application must be processed through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for some nonimmigrant visa classifications. Employers must make representations regarding prevailing and actual wages, working conditions, the absence of a strike or lockout, and the provision of notice to bargaining representatives. Further, employers must maintain documentation of the representations made, as well as meet other documentary requirements with respect to the visa classification.