Employment Eligibility of Workers



DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

[Graphic Omitted] SMALL BUSINESS HANDBOOK
Wage, Hour and Other Workplace Standards
Employment Eligibility of Workers

Updated: November 1997

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)
(8 USC §1101), as amended
The Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 274A

Who is Covered

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) employment eligibility verification and related nondiscrimination provisions apply to all employers.

Basic Provisions/Requirements

Under IRCA, employers may hire only persons who may legally work in the United States (U.S.): citizens and nationals of the U.S. and aliens authorized to work in the U.S. The employer must verify the identity and employment eligibility of anyone to be hired which includes completing and retaining the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9). Employers must keep I-9s on file for at least 3 years (or one year after employment ends, whichever is greater).

The INA also protects U.S. citizens, and aliens authorized to accept employment in the U.S., from discrimination in hiring or discharge on the basis of national origin and citizenship status.

Assistance Available

More detailed information, including copies of explanatory brochures and regulatory and interpretative materials, may be obtained by contacting the Employment Standards Administration’s Wage and Hour Division and Office of Federal Contract Compliance local offices.

Penalties

Employers who fail to complete and/or retain the I-9 forms are subject to penalties. Enforcement of the INA requirements on employment eligibility verification comes under the jurisdiction of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The Justice Department is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provisions. In conjunction with their ongoing enforcement efforts, the Employment Standards Administration's Wage and Hour Division and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs conduct inspections of the I-9 forms. Their findings are reported to the INS and to the Department of Justice where there is apparent disparate treatment or apparent unauthorized workers employed.

Relation to State, Local and Other Federal Laws

Not applicable.

       

U.S. Department of Labor


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