It is important for an employer to methodically navigate the U.S. immigration system in regard to its foreign national employee. In an effort to control the flow of illegal immigration, Congress passed the Immigration Reform & Control Act (IRCA) of 1986. IRCA pulled employers into the efforts to control illegal immigration through the imposition of a dual obligation:(1) an employer may only hire aliens authorized to work and (2) an employer must keep records evidencing the right to work of all employees hired after October 6, 1986. IRCA also set forth significant monetary and criminal penalties for employers who fail to comply with the law. Aware of the potential for abuse in carrying out these obligations, IRCA established anti-discrimination provisions designed to prevent discrimination against an individual on the basis of national origin or citizenship. Violation of the anti-discrimination provisions can be just as serious as failing to comply with the dual obligation to hire authorized workers and keep appropriate records.
This area of immigration law is complex. The challenges to the employer include determining: Who is an employee covered by IRCA? Who is permitted to work under U.S. immigration laws? What internal system should be developed to ensure compliance with the law? What constitutes a violation? What penalties are imposed on the employer in the instance of a violation? What is E-Verify and should the employer consider enrolling in E-Verify? An employer must know the answers to these questions in order to ensure compliance with the U.S. immigration laws. We are well-versed in this complex system and can advise your organization on a specific problem in response to an audit by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or provided organization-wide training.