Business owners recruiting foreign workers have an important role in enforcing US immigration laws. The government considers employers of foreign hires as part of the immigration vetting process, making sure all workers are employed legally. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Employer’s Handbook details business owners’ obligation to confirm every worker’s work authorization with an I-9 or Employment Eligibility Verification form. Employers are also required by law to maintain current records for every employee at all times to show I-9 compliance.
According to the USCIS, potential employees are classified in one of the following ways: United States citizens, noncitizen nationals, lawful permanent residents, and aliens authorized to work. The USCIS Employer’s Handbook and Form I-9 instructions detail exactly what forms are needed to authorize employment for new hires based on these four categories. New hires have the right to determine what documents they provide to prove their status.
Paramount to the I-9, is the “Anti-Discrimination Notice” at the top of the form. Telling prospective employees which documents to provide, or making hiring decisions based on which are provided may be considered discrimination – which is illegal. Also important to note, employers cannot withhold employment from qualified and authorized workers based upon when their documents expire.
When handling new hires ideally suited for a position but without the necessary paperwork to be authorized, things become complicated. One option for employers who want to obtain authorization for certain workers is “green card” sponsorship. Sponsoring a new hire for lawful permanent residence or a “green card” can be an expensive, time-consuming process, but may make sense for the right employee.
Temporary Visas for Workers
Another alternative for employers seeking work authorization for new hires is a temporary or non-immigrant visa. A variety of types of temporary visas exist, each being effective for a different amount of time. Temporary visas are commonly used in industries like seasonal labor, education, entertainment, athletics, and business. Each profession has its own set of criteria and requirements for obtaining a temporary visa. When applicable, they can be used to employ a worker while they wait to secure a “green card” which can often be a lengthy process.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers: Surin & Griffin, P.C. Guides Immigrants Through the I-9 Process
Whether you are an employer trying to authorize a new hire, or a worker trying to complete an I-9, the Philadelphia Immigration lawyers at Surin and Griffin, P.C. can guide you through the entire process. Securing work authorization for foreign employees can be complicated and failure to do so correctly leaves employers vulnerable to discrimination claims.
Call the Center City Philadelphia office of Surin & Griffin, P.C. at 215-925-4435 to schedule a consultation. You can also contact us online. Surin & Griffin represent clients in Philadelphia, Bala Cynwyd, Merion Station, Darby, Wynnewood, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, Narberth, Folcroft, Cheltenham, Clifton Heights, Lansdowne, Glenolden, Drexel Hill, Elkins Park, Havertown, Norwood, Ardmore, Holmes, Essington, Wyncote, Prospect Park, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.