As a reflection of our general population, construction work sites are becoming a confluence of ethnicities, languages and diverse cultural backgrounds. Combining diverse populations and international perspective has made our nation’s and Iowa’s workforce some of the most productive in the world. To its credit, MBI has also taken a leadership role in helping to overcome barriers on the jobsite to enable workers of all backgrounds to be safe and productive workers. However, the integration of international workers does require additional oversight on legal status and compliance with immigration laws.
MBI professionals can provide you advice with your immigration compliance questions. Please contact Leon Shearer.
In the meantime, the following six “tips” are helpful reminders of what you, as an employer, must do to ensure compliance with immigration laws and worker classification requirements. These six tips will assist employers in surviving immigration audits:
Tip #1 - Make sure that each new hire completes Section 1 of the I-9 form on the first day of employment. If the employee's information is incomplete, it is you who pays the fine, so proofread this section very carefully.
Tip #2 - Complete Section 2 of the I-9 form by the employee's third day of employment. Show the employee the back of the form, and have him/her show you either one List A document (ID and Employment Authorization) or one List B document (ID) and one List C (Employment Authorization) document. Do not request specific documents or additional documents.
Tip #3 - Keep your I-9 forms separate from employee personnel files. Otherwise, you will have a lot of sorting to do if you receive a Notice of Inspection. The forms must be retained for three years after the employee is hired or one year after his employment ceases, whichever is later. Keep the forms of active employees separate from those of former employees. Purge the latter on a regular basis.
Tip #4 - Create a tickler system for employees who check the box in Section 1 which indicates that they possess only temporary employment authorization. Send them notices well in advance of the termination of their work permits advising them of the need to update their I-9 forms. Remember that certain types of work status are extended simply by submitting an application for an extension to the USCIS. Never update the forms of U.S. citizens or permanent residents, even though "green cards" all have expiration dates.
Tip #5 - Protect yourself from violating the "antidiscrimination" provisions of the law by treating employees who may look or sound "foreign" to you the same as employees who are U.S. citizens.
Tip #6 - Have an attorney who has expertise in I-9 laws and procedures to review all of your I-9 forms at least once each year. The amount that you spend will be a tiny fraction of what you might be fined by the government if you are audited.