Hiring Foreign Workers? What Are Your Legal Responsibilities?
As the U.S. economy continues to improve, CNC manufacturers are attempting to add to their workforce. Some of the individuals showing up for these jobs are foreign-born. As we are all aware from the ongoing debates in Washington over immigration reform, there are many unauthorized workers in this country.
As a result, the government wants employers to make sure that the people they hire are eligible to work here. Therefore every employer needs to understand what is required when hiring a foreign national. The U.S. Department of Labor provides a great deal of information on this subject on its website. Here are a few key provisions that will help you be in compliance:
- Employee Verification Form. Known as Form I-9, employers must obtain one for each new employee within 3 days of hiring. Be sure to carefully follow all of the instructions for filling out this form (download the form here). For example, you can only request the applicant fill out the form after you’ve hired him or her, not before. Failure to follow these instructions could lead to charges of discrimination.
- Social Security Number. Even temporary workers are required to provide a Social Security Number, or present evidence that they have applied for one. According to the Social Security website: “When foreign workers apply for Social Security numbers, Social Security verifies their documents directly with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Most applications are verified immediately, but there can be delays. Social Security understands that this process may affect companies who hire foreign workers, but direct verification from DHS is vital to ensuring the integrity of the Social Security number. Advise workers that they are required to apply for a Social Security number and card. If a worker applied for but has not yet received a Social Security number, you should get the following information as complete as possible: The worker's full name, address, date of birth, place of birth, father's full name, mother's full maiden name, gender and the date he or she applied for a Social Security number.”
- Use E-Verify. This system was set up by the Citizenship & Immigration Services to compare the information you obtain on a new hire’s I-9 form with the information held in the databases of the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. If everything is in order, you will receive an Employment Authorized report that you can keep on file along with the I-9 document. If there is a problem, you’ll receive a notification that you must turn over to the employee who then has eight days to resolve the situation with the government. If he or she fails to do so within the eight day period, you must terminate their employment. In most cases, using E-Verify is not mandatory unless your state requires it or you have government contracts. However, it’s an excellent way to prove to the government that you took all reasonable steps to make certain your new hire is eligible to work in the U.S.
This is just a brief overview of course, and you should check with the appropriate government agencies and/or your legal advisor to make sure you are in compliance.