Immigration Status and Workers’ Rights

Recently, the Illinois state Attorney General released guidelines clarifying workers rights as they relate to their immigration status. The move comes in response to the growing confusion regarding foreign-born workers’ rights to seek employment in the United States.

Ongoing changes in immigration law and policies have many men and women wondering if they are permitted to work in the U.S., and if so, what documentation they need to do so. The information included in the guidelines applies to workplaces throughout the United States.

Immigration Status and Workers’ Rights

The document, Guidance for Illinois Residents: Impact of Immigration Status on Employees’ Rights in the Workplace, clarifies the rights of all workers, regardless of immigration status. Under the law, all workers have the right to:

  • Earn at least minimum wage
  • Freedom from unlawful discrimination on the job
  • Join a union
  • Receive overtime pay for more than 40 hours worked
  • Work in a safe and healthy environment
  • Recover compensation for injuries suffered on the job

Any worker, regardless of immigration status or employment authorization, has the right to file a complaint with the appropriate agency if they believe their rights have been violated.

Authorization to Work in the United States

It is important to note that employers in the United States are required by federal law to verify every worker’s authorization to work in the country. Upon hiring a worker, employers have three days to verify their Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) and the additional documentation used to prove their identity.

Employers are also required to check in routinely to ensure that paperwork with an expiration date is either renewed or re-issued on time. Workers are under no obligation to keep their employer updated on changes or updates to their employment authorization. Workers who submit false information or documentation that does not belong to them can face fines or other penalties.

ICE and Workers’ Rights

Every foreign-born worker should know that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are permitted to enter the workplace and ask employees questions about their employment authorization or immigration status. However, employees are not required to answer these questions. They may choose to stay silent or wait until their Philadelphia immigration attorney is present to answer questions or sign documents.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Assist Clients With All Types of Employment Issues

If you are looking for work in the United States and have questions about how your immigration status may impact your employment, contact the Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. We advocate for clients with all types of concerns and situations. To learn more about our services, call 215-925-4435 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

Located in Philadelphia, we work with clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, including the areas of 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.