Immigration compliance and the importance of getting it right


Verification of all employees’ eligibility for employment in the United States is required, but can result in penalties if  a company reverifies unnecessarily — and discriminatorily.

A US employer agreed to pay $43,000 in civil penalties, undergo training on proper compliance, and submit to monitoring of compliance for 18 months as part of a settlement agreement reached last week with the US Justice Department.

The Justice Department found the employer engaged in discrimination during the employment eligibility verification process when it required lawful permanent residents to reverify their employment eligibility after their alien registration cards expired, as well as requiring permanent residents to produce specific documents.

US law requires employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all employees hired.  Reverification is required for employees who are not permanently authorized for employment in the US, such as individuals with temporary visas like H-1B, TN, L-1, etc., as well as those with employment authorization documents.  However, reverification is not required for US citizens and lawful permanent residents, since they are permanently authorized for employment, not withstanding the fact that US passports and alien registration cards generally expire and must be renewed every 10 years.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services agency provides a list of the acceptable documents to prove identity and employment eligibility.  The law allows the employee to select any documents from the acceptable list and forbids employers from mandating specific documents.  The law prohibits citizenship and national origin discrimination.

For more information, see the Justice Department press release.

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Matt Schulz

About Matt Schulz

Matt Schulz is a member of Dentons' Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice with a focus on business immigration and employment law. He is a leader in the firm's Global Mobility practice and a member of Dentons' Venture Technology and Emerging Growth Companies practice.

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