Acceptable Documents for Hiring
It is unlawful for employers to knowingly hire, recruit, or refer for a fee any individual who is not authorized to work in the United States. It is also unlawful to continue to employ an undocumented worker or a worker who loses authorization to work. (Those hired before November 6, 1986 do not fall within this category.)
You may hire anyone whose documents prove identity and work authorization in accordance with the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification requirements. There are many documents and combinations of documents that are acceptable.
Form I-9 is the "Employment Eligibility Verification" form. Employers must use the I-9 to document that they are hiring only people who are authorized to work in the United States. Form I-9 is available online at www.uscis.gov/files/form/I-9.pdf . A new 48-page "Handbook for Employers: Instructions for Completing the Form I-9" is available at www.uscis.gov/files/nativedocuments/m-274.pdf
To comply with I-9 requirements,
Remember, you are free to hire anyone who can show documents establishing his/her identity and authorization to work in the United States. Any of the documents or combination of documents listed on the back of the I-9 form are acceptable, as long as they appear to be reasonably genuine.
Suggested Best Practices
Create a written policy for re-verification of employees (updating I-9 forms before they expire).
Create a written policy to cover situations where employees' documents are being processed by INS.Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I be sure that applicants for the posted position are authorized to work in the U.S.?
You can state the following in your job posting: "Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the United States for any employer." Once you hire a person, you and your new employee must complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9.
2. Can't I just require that applicants have a "green card?"
No. A "green card only" (generally used to refer to a permanent resident card) policy will almost always violate federal anti discrimination law.
First, "green cards" are only issued to individuals with a specific immigration status, namely permanent residents. Many other immigrants are authorized to work in the U.S. but don't have "green cards." Thus, by requiring a "green card," you are effectively limiting your job posting to permanent residents only, and excluding other categories of individuals who are authorized to work.
Requiring applicants to have a particular citizenship or immigration status is generally unlawful. Second, requiring a "green card" or any other BCIS (formerly INS) issued document during completion of the Form I-9 may also violate federal law. All new employees should be shown the complete list of documents acceptable to complete the Form I-9 and given the choice of which documents to show to complete the form.
3. How can I convey that I am not interested in sponsoring a candidate for this position?
You may simply state: "No sponsorship is available for this position." In the alternative, as discussed above in response to Question 1, you may state the following: "Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the United States for any employer." Candidates requiring sponsorship are not authorized to work in the United States for any employer. For positions with your company, including H-1B visa holders, you may not express a preference for H-1B candidates or other individuals requiring sponsorship or employment visas. Employment opportunities should be made available equally to all individuals who are authorized to work in the United States. To do otherwise, may violate federal anti-discrimination law.
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