Water Well Journal

January 2017

Water Well Journal

Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/767379

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Page 43 of 63

I mmigration to the United States was the subject of signifi- cant public and political debate as was evident in the recent presidential race. In 2014, immigrants accounted for nearly 17% (26.7 million) of the 159.5 million workers in the civilian labor force, according to the Migration Policy Institute. As you prepare to hire employees, the Small Business Ad- ministration stresses the importance of employers understand- ing all the laws and regulations about employee eligibility. In particular, it is critical to understand the Immigration and Nationality Act, which governs immigration and citizenship in the United States. The INA is especially important to small business owners because it addresses employment eligibility, employment veri- fication, and nondiscrimination. This column provides an overview of these provisions and resources on how to comply with the INA. Employee Eligibility Verification (I-9 Form) According to the Small Business Administration, federal law requires an employer to verify an employee's eligibility to work in the United States. Within three days of hiring a new employee, you must complete an employment eligibility veri- fication form—commonly referred to as an I-9 form. This requires examining acceptable forms of the em- ployee's documentation to confirm his or her citizenship or eligibility to work in the United States. You can request only documentation specified on the I-9 form. Employers who ask for other types of documentation not listed on the I-9 form may be subject to discrimination lawsuits. You do not file the I-9 form with the federal government. But you are required to keep an I-9 form on file for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date the employee's employment ends, whichever is later. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency conducts routine workplace audits to ensure employers are properly completing and retaining I-9 forms, and that em- ployee information on I-9 forms matches government records. For complete information about using, understanding, and keeping up to date with Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, visit I-9 Central at www.uscis.gov/i-9-central. You can use information taken from Form I-9 to verify electronically the employment eligibility of newly hired employees through E-Verify. To get started, register with E- Verify to virtually eliminate Social Security mismatch letters, improve the accuracy of wage and tax reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce. Hiring and Employment Labor laws and foreign workers (www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov) This link covers foreign labor certification programs, administered in part by the U.S. Department of Labor, that permit U.S. employers to hire foreign workers, temporarily or permanently, to fill jobs essential to the U.S. economy. These programs are generally designed to ensure allowing foreign workers into the United States on a permanent or tem- porary basis will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages, and working conditions of U.S. workers. Foreign labor certification (www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov) At this link, information is provided on the foreign labor certification process and how employers can apply to bring foreign workers into the country for employment. Hiring guest workers (www.doleta.gov/business/gw/guestwkr) This link describes the U.S. Department of Labor certifica- tions issued for permanent and temporary employment. Wages under foreign labor certification (www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov) Explained here is the Immigration and Nationality Act, the INA, which allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers on a temporary or permanent basis to perform certain types of work. The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration generally certifies employers to obtain special visas in order to hire foreign workers when there are not enough qualified U.S. workers available and willing to work at wages meeting or exceeding the current wage paid for the occupation. ALEXANDRA WALSH PEOPLE AT WORK FOREIGN WORKERS, IMMIGRATION, AND EMPLOYEE ELIGIBILITY It's a lot to keep track of, but it's important to understand these work provisions. The INA is especially important to small business owners because it addresses employment eligibility, employment verification, and nondiscrimination. waterwelljournal.com 42 January 2017 WWJ

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