Immigration Compliance: Being Prepared

Arizona’s immigration law has been approved by the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result Georgia’s law, very much like Arizona’s, will likely survive the court challenges. So you need to be prepared for immigration compliance. The national law firm of Seyfarth Shaw published a paper entitled How Will the Supreme Court’s Approval of Arizona’s E-Verify Law Affect Your Organization? – 7 Action Items to Consider. I am not going to repeat the seven items, you can read that in the paper by yourself. However, one of the items, (number 6), was Consider which immigration-related best practices may be suitable for your organization.
Immigration and Compliance Enforcement (ICE) offers IMAGE (ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers) to provide what they call “best practices” in immigration compliance. I took a look at what they offer and I have selected the following that I believe would be prudent for all employers to have in place. These include:

  • Use E-Verify, the DHS  employment eligibility verification program, to verify the  employment eligibility of all new hires. (If you are a Georgia employer you will have to be soon, may as well start now.)
  • Use the Social Security Number  Verification Service (SSNVS) for wage reporting  purposes.  Make a good faith effort to  correct and verify the names and Social Security numbers of the current workforce  and work with employees to resolve any discrepancies.
  • Establish a written  hiring and employment eligibility verification policy.
  • Establish an internal  compliance and training program related to the hiring and employment  verification process, including completion of Form  I-9. (In my experience this is a major source of errors in companies, particularly small companies.)
  • Require the Form  I-9 and E-Verify process to be conducted only  by individuals who have received appropriate training and include a secondary  review as part of each employee’s verification to minimize the potential for a  single individual to subvert the process.
  • Arrange for annual Form  I-9 audits by an external  auditing firm or a trained employee not otherwise involved in the Form  I-9 process. (I can humbly suggest a good consulting firm.)
  • Establish a protocol  for responding to letters or other information received from federal and state  government agencies indicating that there is a discrepancy between the agency’s  information and the information provided by the employer or employee  (for example, “no  match” letters received from the Social Security Administration) and provide employees  with an opportunity to make a good faith effort to resolve the discrepancy when  it is not due to employer error.
  • Maintain copies of  any documents accepted as proof of identity and/or employment authorization for  all new hires.

This is not the entire list. If you want to see that list click on this link. IMAGE Best Practices. However, these are the ones that I would recommend adopting. With more and more states passing immigration laws and ICE itself stepping up their enforcement efforts it is important to have this are of human resources as clean as possible. This is a law that violations can cost money and jail time.

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