How to Avoid Immigration-Related Litigation in Today’s Job Market

The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated recently that there are more than three million additional unfilled jobs this year over last year. The construction industry is one of the industries that has had considerable difficulty in obtaining enough workers, which has caused them, along with many other industries, to find alternative sources of labor. One of these alternative sources is recruiting and hiring foreign nationals, which can be a dependable source of labor in a time of widespread labor shortages.

But, hiring foreign nationals isn’t easy; there are a lot of procedures that need to be followed to stay in compliance with government regulations for recruiting, hiring, and onboarding. Construction industry employers, especially, should make sure to stay in compliance with all laws for recruiting and hiring employees. Employers must also take care, not to over documentation violations as well as citizenship discrimination. Construction industry employers, especially, should make sure to stay in compliance with all laws and regulations for recruiting and hiring employees, including avoiding over documentation violations as well as citizenship discrimination. Failure to comply with all of the applicable laws could result in audits by the Department of Justice and possible penalties.

There are some steps employers can take to try and prevent immigration-related litigation, such as:

  • Make sure to contact legal counsel for help before starting any program involving the recruitment of foreign nationals, even if your business is working with a recruiting company. Hiring foreign nationals could help with your company’s labor problems, but it is essential to comply with any regulations. 
  • Training employees that are part of the hiring process on how to comply with I-9 regulations, such as what information they need to give to new hires that are completing Form I-9
  • Not asking new hires to provide specific documents to prove they are authorized to work in the United States
  • Make it clear to employees that they are not to reverify the work authorization of an employee until they are required to do so by law.
  • Provide your employees with anti-discrimination training and Form I-9 training. This will show your company was acting in good faith should you be audited.
  • Performing internal I-9 audits with help from legal counsel to make sure your company is in compliance

It is important to follow all federal immigration laws, including those involving immigration-related discrimination, as failure to do so could result in substantial penalties. Employers could be held responsible for back wages as well as any other losses by those employees whose rights were violated. It is far cheaper to stay in compliance with the immigration laws than risk penalties or lawsuits.

Unfortunately, this isn’t easy. Hiring foreign nationals involves following a lot of regulations and completing some complex and confusing forms, such as Form I-9. The best way to avoid penalties for failing to properly complete and store Form I-9 is to use an electronic I-9 management tool. This tool will help ensure your Form I-9s are properly completed and stored and even send you reminders when you need to take any action.

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