The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 imposes compliance obligations and responsibilities on every employer regardless of size. You must verify that an individual is authorized to be employed in the United States. You face civil and criminal penalties for knowingly hiring, referring, recruiting or continuing to employ individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States.
It is illegal for a person or other entity to hire, recruit or refer for employment (for a fee):
You must verify that every new hire is either a U.S. citizen or is authorized to work in the United States within three business days after the employee’s first day of work for pay. For example, if the employee starts work for pay on Monday, the employer must complete its portion of the I-9 form by Thursday, by examining documents that give evidence of identity and employment eligibility. The acceptable documentation is listed on the back of the Form I-9, which you must complete for every employee.
On March 8, 2013, a revised Form I-9 was published by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
If you comply with the verification requirements when hiring an individual but later discover that the employee is not authorized to work in the United States, you cannot continue to employ that person. Similarly, it is unlawful to contract an undocumented worker for labor if you know that he/she is unauthorized to work in the United States. You cannot require more or different identity and work authorization documents than specified by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS). You must honor documents that appear valid on their face. If an employee can produce the required verification of eligibility to work, it’s illegal to discriminate against him/her on the basis of:
California also protects workers against certain unfair immigration related practices.
Form I-9 Exceptions: Form I-9 is not required for:
It is illegal to contract for labor for which you know the worker is not authorized. Doing so may subject you to civil and criminal penalties.
Regulations Authorizing Electronic Form I-9: Employers may complete, sign, scan and store the Form I-9 electronically, if certain requirements are satisfied. The regulations specify the following:
Though the regulations allow you to choose between paper and electronic systems, employers should apply consistent policies and procedures to all employees to avoid claims of discrimination. Similarly, providing an electronic version of Form I-9 does not eliminate your obligation to examine documentation the employee provides prior to completing the Form I-9. Whether filled out on paper or electronically, an employer representative must physically examine required identification and eligibility documentation.
Retaining Form I-9 Records: You must retain Form I-9 records for as long as the individual works for you. Once the individual’s employment terminates, you must retain the form for at least three years from the date of hire or one year from the date of termination, whichever is longer. Keep the I-9 - Employment Eligibility Verification and supporting documents in a location separate from the employee’s personnel file. You must make these documents available for USCIS inspection within three days of a request for lawful inspection. You face civil penalties for violating these record-keeping requirements, ranging from $110 to $1,100 for each infraction.