(Published in the Spring/Summer of 2010 Newsletter)
Many employers, including churches, are surprised to learn that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires every employer to complete a form entitled: “Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.” The I-9 Form can be obtained at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis.
This applies to all employees who are hired, citizen and non-citizen alike. The form enables employers to verify the eligibility of individuals for employment in the U.S., thus insuring that the employer does not violate the immigration laws by hiring an illegal alien.
There is no requirement that the form be filed with any governmental agency. However, the employer must retain the form for 3 years after the date of hire, or one year after the date the employment ends, and must be available for inspection by the proper governmental authority.
The employee must complete the first section of the form at the time of hire, but not before. He also has 3 days to provide evidence of identity, the types of which are specified on the I-9 Form. Failure to complete, retain and/or make available for inspection an I-9 Form can result in penalties by the DHS of not less than $110 and not more than $1,100 for each violation. Additional penalties apply to hiring or employing illegal aliens ranging from $375 to $16,000, per violation, depending on the number of offenses and other factors.
Employers and churches can voluntarily participate in a program called “E-Verify.” This is an electronic government program that allows an employer to verify an employee’s status. An E-Verify query may not be made until after a job offer has been accepted and after the I-9 is completed. The query must be made within 3 days of the start of work. An employer may not delay or speed up either training or hire while waiting for confirmation.
Register for E-Verify at https://e-verify.uscis.gov/enroll/StartPage.aspx?JS=YES.
NOTE: The contents of this Newsletter are not intended to be, nor should they be taken as, specific legal advice as each situation is different. Please contact a lawyer with any questions you may have.
The employment attorneys at Trinity Law can help. Contact us now by calling, toll free, 1-866-464-5297.