Employers need to be advised of the latest methods of staying within immigration compliance when employing workers from other countries.
To avoid legal consequences, employers need to pay attention to the latest methods of immigration compliance when hiring employees. Since the laws are occasionally updated, it is wise to find out how to stay in compliance this year.
1. Play by the Rules from the Beginning
You should first check to make sure your company’s immigration policies are updated in the handbook, and are followed by all staff members. Consider having your employees sign a document showing that they have read any updated policies. It is especially important to ensure that anyone who hires new employees understands how to comply with immigration rules.
When you hire new employees, you are allowed to ask whether they can legally work in this country without restrictions. However, you cannot ask what their exact citizenship status is. You should also avoid asking about their country of origin, as they could initiate a discrimination lawsuit if you end up not hiring them. All you need to know is whether they can legally work here.
Also remember that you must take on all the fees associated with ensuring that employees can work in this country. You may be fined if you try to pass the costs onto your employees or new applicants.
2. Handle H-1 B Workers Properly
According to Cross Border Employer, if you hire H-1B workers, there are some steps to take to stay in compliance with immigration rules. For example, you need to keep a public file for each worker with this type of visa. In this file, you need to keep a copy of the Labor Condition Application, and you are expected to keep this and other documentation for at least one year after the end date of the application.
You also need to include the wage you are paying the H-1 B worker, how it was calculated, and how you figured out the prevailing wage for the job, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition, you need to include a list of the benefits you give all of your employees. If the benefits given to the H-1B worker are different, you need to explain why.
If you terminate the H-1 B worker, or he or she quits before the three-year term of admission to this country, it is your duty to contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). This is because the employee needs to find another job with the H-1B visa, get the visa changed to a different type, or leave the United States. If the latter is chosen after termination, you will be expected to pay for the employee’s transportation back to his or her country of origin.
3. Give Employees Time to Correct Mistakes in Data
When you hire new employees, be sure to run E-Verify, but keep in mind that if anyone gets a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC), you cannot immediately refuse to hire him or her. Employees have eight business days to get in touch with either the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to correct data that is wrong. If they do nothing, and end up with a Final Nonconfirmation (FNC), you are expected to terminate or avoid hiring them.
Similarly, if you receive a No-Match Letter from the SSA, you cannot immediately terminate the employee. You must let the employee know about the issue so he or she can contact the SSA to get it corrected within a reasonable period of time.
4. Be Proactive
If you have questions about immigration compliance, you should talk to an immigration attorney. Even if you honestly did not know the law, you could be charged with severe penalties if you are found in violation. This is why you should contact an immigration lawyer before making major decisions. Whether you plan to send employees abroad or want to hire workers from other countries, you can benefit from the updated advice that a lawyer can give.