Immigration reform has been a hot topic for the past few years and government programs such as EVerify are working toward ensuring employers are able to remain in top form during audits by the government. As the economic crisis wages on, however, immigration and reform have been pushed to the back burner.
Our nation's capital is gearing up for an unprecedented inauguration for the first black president who promises of change have inspired millions, many questions are lingering in the air. His plate is fuller than any other president inaugurated before him and at the bottom of the piles lies immigration.
During his campaign days, Obama said, "we are a nation of law, as well as a nation of immigrants." His dedication to representing both sides of the issue is clear, what is not clear is how he will change or support policies that are already in place.
Until that unforeseeable time, employers should sit tight with laws already on the books:
• Verify. Complete I-9 employment verification forms for every employee hired after November 6, 1986. Periodic audits are advisable to ensure that the forms are properly completed and updated if necessary.
• Document. Document. Document. Ensure all reasonable and lawful efforts to resolve any employment verification issues are documented, such as a new hire's failure to produce documents within the first three days of work, receipt of social security mismatch letters, or confirmed reports of unauthorized workers. Employers must follow-up to resolve the issue within a reasonable time period, or the employee must be terminated.
• Follow for one, for all. Stick to the same employment verification policies and procedures for all employees, regardless of national origin or citizenship status.
• Keep tabs. Set reminders on priority dates for employees with pending permanent residency applications, and be on the lookout for H-1B filing dates subject to the quota.
• Sign-up for E-Verify. Consider participating in E-Verify to benefit from certain immigration programs, such as permitting employment of certain post-graduates for an increased period of employment authorization