No matter what happens with immigration practices and strategies following the general election in November 2016, Maryland employers will still be required to use Form I-9 to verify the identity and authorization of an immigrant employee to work in the United States. This is a requirement for all workers despite their citizenship, immigration status or national origin.
The first step employers should take is to avoid pre-screening tactics before an employee accepts an offer for work. It is unlawful to use E-Verify, Form I-9 or the Social Security Number Verification Service to determine if an immigrant is authorized for employment. An employer should only complete Form I-9 after the individual receives and accepts an employment offer. Additionally, companies should never assume that immigrants are unauthorized based on a non-confirmation.
Business owners should carefully carry out compliance audits to avoid appearing discriminatory. They need to carefully plan when the audit occurs and how far it reaches so that it does not look as if they are unfairly targeting a certain group of workers. Internal audits, for instance, should not be limited to workers of one national origin.
To further ensure compliance and best practices, employers need to require ongoing training for all personnel who file Form I-9s. This prevents discriminatory practices throughout the completion process. Additionally, companies can inquire about the status of a Form I-9 to determine if they need an export license. This is required for non-U.S. persons who are exposed to sensitive information, which does not include U.S. citizens, asylees, lawful permanent residents and refugees.
The employment-based immigration process might be confusing for both employees and prospective immigrant workers. Either of these parties could seek guidance from immigration law attorneys if they are confused or do not fully understand the requirements for immigrants who want to work in the United States.