Working in the US – What Employers and Employees Must Know

Employment of non-US workers in the US is closely monitored and is restricted to only those employees who have authorization to work in the US. These rules and regulations exist in order to protect both US jobs and US workers (both US workers and non-US workers). Strict rules ensure that US jobs are available for those who are authorized to work in the US. As well, employment rules are designed to ensure that payment and working conditions in US jobs remain fair. Finally, the rules ensure that all workers are treated fairly on the job. When illegal workers are hired, they are often hired under unsafe conditions and unfair wages; employee rights and rules ensure that such abuses are not tolerated.

Both employees and employers have obligations under US employment policies. Employers, for example, must file Form I-9 and must use E-Verify to ensure that they hire employees who are authorized to work in the US. Employers are also required to update their Form I-9 for each worker and to keep it on file in case US immigration authorities need to see this documentation. When hiring non-US employees, employers have two options. They can hire an employee who has already obtained authorization for working in the US. They can also hire a non-US worker and petition to get this worker a visa or even a green card through employment, to ensure that the worker is authorized to work in the US.

Employees also have a number of obligations under US work laws. Employees, for example, must obtain authorization for working in the US before accepting any employment in the US. Immigrants to the US may be granted the right to work in the US due to their immigration status or they may need to apply for work authorization separately. Either way, it is important to apply for authorization before seeking work. As well, workers must keep their authorization up to date. If work authorization is granted temporarily, for example, employees must not continue to work after authorization has expired. Employees are also responsible for renewing their green cards or other relevant authorization as required.

Both an employee and employer also have tax obligations. An employer may be required to withhold some taxes from employee wages and employees are responsible for declaring their income and paying income taxes. Failure to do so can result in fines and even criminal charges. As well, employees who do not declare income and pay taxes as required may have a hard time securing a green card through employment.