As an African immigrant in the US, it’s necessary that you know the laws governing the conducts and employment of immigrants.
This way, you’d be able to protect yourself against social and employment discrimination.
Before 1986, US employers could hire undocumented (and unauthorized) immigrants. However, the Immigration Reform And Control Act (IRCA) was introduced to curb the process.
Last week we looked at a brief history of the anti-discrimination provision.
For employers to verify your employment eligibility, a unique form called the Form I-9 has to be completed.
Verification Of Employment Eligibility
Every employer is expected to complete the Form I-9 for all new hires. Therefore, all immigrants have to provide documents that show their eligibility to work in the US.
Before providing the relevant documents, the employee has to be hired. And the documents have to be produced within three business days.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) issues a receipt to employees who have lost their documents. And in such situations, the employee has to be given a 90-day period from the date of hire to produce an original document.
Upon request, an employer has to present the completed Form I-9 for inspection.
Employers who fail to provide the completed form and are harboring undocumented immigrant workers in their workplace are at risk of civil and criminal penalties.
All You Need To Know About Form I-9
Both employers and employees have to fill the Form I-9 to show their eligibility to work in the US.
There are three sections in the form, and a list of documents to ascertain your eligibility is also provided.
Here’s an overview of the three sections of Form I-9
Section 1 is to be signed under the penalty of perjury.
Essential information like the name, address, and date of birth of the worker has to be provided.
Furthermore, the worker has to check a box to show whether he or she is a US citizen.
For non-citizens, they’d have to provide their alien number.
Except for refugees and asylees, other immigrants have to indicate the expiry date of their work authorization.
If a worker uses a social security card to show his/her work eligibility, the employer should indicate it in section 2.
In situations where the worker is unable to write in English, an assistant can be offered. And the person that delivered the assistance has to sign that he/she was responsible for the translation.
Section 2 of the form has to be completed by the employer.
Here the employer will list the verification documents provided by the worker.
The verification documents are of three groups, and the worker has to choose the combination of documents to produce.
It’s important to know that the combination of the document to provide is your choice to make — the employer does not make this decision for you.
List A documents show your identity and eligibility as a worker.
The worker’s identity is established by List B while his/her employment eligibility is established by List C.
List C document can be a valid Social Security Card. And the card has to be authenticated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
If a worker provides the documents from list A, he/she is not expected to provide any additional documents from List B and List C.
However, if a worker doesn’t provide a document from List A, he/she is required to submit a document from List B and a second document from List C.
Section 3 is used to update and re-verify the work authorization of a worker.
In situations where the work authorization of an employee expires, the employer has to reverify the eligibility of the worker.
However, the employer is not allowed to reverify the eligibility of lawful permanent residents. And individuals with Temporary Protection Status (TPS) can be issued a work authorization extension by the DHS.
Filling the Form I-9 is quite simple. And you should always remember that the combination of documents you’d provide to your employer is your choice to make.
Are you having any issues with your work authorization process? Use the comment section to share your challenges with us.