Home > Magazine > Immigration > The I-9 Form: Protecting Your Business With Regards to Unauthorized Workers


The I-9 Form: Protecting Your Business With Regards to Unauthorized Workers

December 2004
The I-9 Form: Protecting Your Business With Regards to Unauthorized Workers

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) made the knowing employment of unauthorized aliens illegal. With the enactment of IRCA, the legal obligations of employers hiring new employees have been greatly increased. Employers are required to verify the identity and eligibility for employment of all persons they hire after November 6, 1986, by completing a Form I-9 for each new employee. Failure to comply with immigration employment laws can result in fines totaling $10,000 or more.

Offenses under IRCA include failure to properly complete an I-9 form; knowingly hiring, continuing to employ, or contacting to obtain the services of an unauthorized alien; providing or knowingly accepting false social security cards; or a pattern and practice of I-9 compliance failure.

On the other hand, demanding excessive documentation, can result also result in substantial fines. IRCA's anti-discrimination provisions prohibit employers of four or more employees from discriminating against certain protected individuals (including permanent residents, temporary residents, special agricultural workers, refugees, and asylees) with respect to hiring, discharging, recruiting, or referring for a fee.

The employment eligibility verification form, Form I-9, is divided into three sections. Section 1 is to be completed by the employee, while Sections 2 and 3 are to be completed by the employer. Section 1 requires basic biographical information, as well as an attestation that the employee is (i) a citizen or national of the U.S., (ii) a lawful permanent resident, or (iii) an alien authorized to work. Employers will be held liable for any incorrect information in Section 1, such as a failure to record the expiration date of a time-limited work authorization document.

In Section 2, the employer must verify the identity and work authorization of the employee, and indicate the date upon which employment began. The employer must "physically examine" the required documents and complete Section 2 within "three business days of the hire." In examining the documents presented by an employee, the employer must ensure that the employee has presented either a document from "List A" of the "Lists of Acceptable Documents" enumerated in the Form I-9 (such as a current or expired U.S. passport) or both a document from "List B" (such as a driver's license) and a document from "List C" (such as a social security card). "List A" documents establish both identity and work eligibility; "List B" documents establish only identity; and "List C" documents establish only employment authorization. The employer may not require that the employee present a particular document from the lists of approved documents, nor may the employer require the employee to present more than the required number of documents. Employers who require documentation in excess of what the Form I-9 specifies may violate IRCA's anti-discrimination provisions.

Section 3 is to be used by employers to update and re-verify employment authorization. Re-verification must be completed on or before the expiration date of US CIS work authorization provided by the employee in Section 1.

Upon re-verification, employees must present a document showing continuing eligibility to work or a new grant of employment authorization. In re-verifying an employee's eligibility to work, the employer must accept any document from "List A" or "List C," including a social security card, as evidence of continuing employment authorization and may not demand an US CIS work authorization document. An employer violates IRCA by insisting that applicant present a US CIS work authorization card at time of re-verification.

Work authorization is automatically extended for 240 days for certain nonimmigrants who have filed an application for an extension of their work authorization. An US CIS receipt for a timely filed extension application may be used as proof of continuing work authorization for a period of 240 days.

INA Section 274C makes it unlawful for a person knowingly: (i) to forge, counterfeit, alter, or falsely make any document for the purpose of satisfying a requirement under the immigration laws; (ii) to use, attempt to use, possess, obtain, accept, receive, or provide any such document to satisfy an immigration requirement; or (iii) to accept, receive, or provide a document lawfully issued to someone else for the purpose of complying with the employment verification requirements.

- To be continued

Enjoyed reading Khabar magazine? Subscribe to Khabar and get a full digital copy of this Indian-American community magazine.

  • Add to Twitter
  • Add to Facebook
  • Add to Technorati
  • Add to Slashdot
  • Add to Stumbleupon
  • Add to Furl
  • Add to Blinklist
  • Add to Delicious
  • Add to Newsvine
  • Add to Reddit
  • Add to Digg
  • Add to Fark
blog comments powered by Disqus

Back to articles



 02_20 cover_Immig.jpg



Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Click here    

 Global HolidaysBanner ad.jpg

Dollar Sense Tax & Accounting REVISED.jpg 


Krishnan Co WebBanner.jpg






SDK small banner 7-16.jpg