US Immigration and Eligibility Employment Verification

In the US, employers are only allowed to hire US workers or those non-US workers who have valid authorization to work in the US. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all workers they hire (both US citizens and non-US citizens) are authorized to work in the US. To make the process easier, and to ensure that employers check employment authorization, the US government has created an  Employment Eligibility Verification system which allows employers to check the employment authorization of workers  and to keep proof of that authorization.

This program requires that all employers in the US fill out and complete a USCIS Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) for every worker they hire to work in the US. This 5-page form must be filled out for all workers, including US citizens and non-US workers. A separate form must be filled out and kept for every employee. To complete each form I-9, the employer must ask for and examine the documents and employment authorization that an employee submits.  USCIS Form I-9outlines the acceptable ID documents and employment authorization documents that employers can accept and mandates that employers verify that the documents appear real and appropriate for the work situation.

The unique thing about Form I-9 is that it is not intended to be filed with the UCSIS or with any other government agency. Instead, once an employer has completed the form, he or she must keep the form for either three years after the employee is hired or until the worker leaves the organization (whichever date comes first). If any US government officials ask to see the Form I-9 for any employee, the employer must be willing and able to show the properly completed form. The form should be filled out before the new worker begins work.

Employers who fail to file Form I-9 for every employee, fail to show Form I-9 when requested by an authorized US government employee, or who fail to check employment verification before hiring an employee can face serious legal problems, including criminal and civil charges as well as fines. Form I-9 and employment verification are designed to ensure that all workers in the US are properly documented and authorized to work in the US. The rules were introduced in 1986 to reduce the number of undocumented workers in the US.  The form and the rules ensure that employers must check employment authorization before hiring and ensure that employers cannot plead ignorance if found to have hired undocumented workers.