Hiring and bringing employees in from other countries can be a frustrating experience. Government red tape and bureaucracy complicate what ought to be a fairly easy procedure. Unfortunately, with complications come the risk of violating the law. Violations are something your business cannot afford.
At a time of increased enforcement efforts against employers, it is critical that your organization maintains compliance with all immigration laws. From I-9 compliance to government audits, there are many pitfalls awaiting companies bringing employees in from other countries.
I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification
Business immigration compliance begins with the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form. This form is used by HR departments to collect and verify identity and employment authorization information for every individual planning to travel to the U.S. for work purposes.
U.S. employers are required to complete their portion of Form I-9 for each foreign employee they plan to hire. Furthermore, employees must present appropriate documentation and attest to employment authorization.
E-Verify is the online federal system employers can use to verify work eligibility among both foreign and domestic employees. Employers use the system to electronically verify all new hires by matching SSA and DHS information against employee-provided information furnished on the I-9. Although use of the system is voluntary for all but those companies with federal contracts or subcontracts, we recommend using it to ensure you are bringing employees into the U.S. legally.
Mergers & Acquisitions
By their nature, mergers and acquisitions expose companies to potential liability in relation to foreign workers. Completing mergers and acquisitions often involves onboarding foreign-born employees. We assist companies in ensuring that everything is in order so that employment issues do not hold up completion. Do amendments need to be filed? Do PERM processes need to be started over? We help companies navigate these issues and understand best practices to not only avoid liability, but also to calm employee concerns regarding the transaction.
Public Access Files
Companies hoping to bring foreign employees into the U.S. to work in certain visa statuses must maintain a public access file for compliance purposes. The public access file is a repository of documents that prove an employer is complying with certain legal requirements for the underlying case. Public access files must be maintained at a company’s place of business and furnished upon request by an authorized government representative.
From time to time, government authorities conduct audits to determine immigration law compliance. Like tax audits, immigration agents are assigned specific cases to work on. Dealing with individual government agents can be intimidating. Being prepared ahead of time is the key. We ensure our clients do not have to go through government audits alone. Our legal representation protects clients’ rights by ensuring that government auditors do not overstep their legal authority, and by verifying that data collected by the agent satisfies the requirements of the inspection.
When it comes to compliance, Graham Adair works on the principle of preventative support. This means we work with our clients to ensure compliance before issues arise. We understand that even a minor issue can become major if it isn’t handled properly.
Graham Adair can conduct audits of your company procedures and records to determine your current level of compliance. Following an audit, we will make recommendations for any corrections we believe are necessary to cure noncompliance. In the event past non-compliance has already been revealed by government audit, we work with clients to limit penalties.
Immigration Law Is Serious Business
Immigration law is serious business. It is designed to protect national security, our economy, and the rights of U.S. businesses and citizens. As such, it can be very complex. The downside of this complexity is that immigration law sometimes creates conditions that make noncompliance difficult to avoid.
We consider it our mission to help clients avoid noncompliance. To that end, we constantly strive to increase our own knowledge – even as immigration law continues to evolve. We remain on the cutting edge so that we can represent our clients with integrity and skill.
An Expert in Your Corner
Do not try to maintain immigration law compliance on your own. Unless you have an in-house team of immigration experts, you run the risk of a government audit uncovering compliance issues that could end up costing your company significant fines and potentially closer ongoing government scrutiny.
Instead, let us help you get your business immigration house in order and keep it that way. We are the expert in your corner. We have the knowledge and experience to address current issues and help you avoid future issues that could otherwise become a problem.