Immigration and Employment Verification
A new final rule on verifying employment eligibility through the Form I-9 process took effect May 16, 2011. Identical to an interim rule that has been in effect since April 3, 2009, the new rule makes changes regarding documents used to verify eligibility for employment in the United States. On April 3, 2009, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) implemented the newest Form I-9 for the verification of employment eligibility for new hires.
As with the interim rule, the final rule prohibits employers from accepting expired documents and revises the list of acceptable documents to remove outdated documents and make technical amendments. Also, documents applicable to certain citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands have been added.
HR Guide to Employment Law: A practical compliance reference manual covering 14 topics, including immigration
In 2007, for the first time since 1991, the USCIS issued a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for immediate use and a new M-274, Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9.
All employers are required to complete a Form I-9 for each employee hired in the United States. The USCIS has encouraged employers to start using the new form as soon as possible. Employers that fail to use the new form after the effective date, April 3, 2009, are subject to fines and penalties.
A copy of the new Form I-9 can be found at
Audit your employment verification policies and practices with the Employment Practices Self-Audit Workbook
Immigration history in the United States
The United States has had a number of different approaches to immigration. Initially, immigration was unlimited and encouraged. Congress later moved to quotas focusing on national or ethnic groups.
During the 1940s and 1950s, Congress struggled with the “Bracero Program,” which authorized contractors, sometimes called “farm bosses,” to contract with foreign nationals to do agricultural work (usually hand-harvested crops), and the nationals were then deported at the end of the season.
Finally, in 1952, Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act, which established the present structures, and in 1965, it replaced ethnic and national quotas with quotas based on perceived employer needs and job vacancies.
In 1960, there were fewer than a million undocumented immigrants, but most experts now estimate there are least 10 to 12 million, and immigrants now make up at least 15 percent of the labor force. Latinos alone account for almost 37 percent of 2006 U.S. employment growth and fill approximately two out of three new jobs in the construction industry, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
Another landmark piece of immigration legislation, called the Immigration Reform and Control Act, was voted into existence under the Reagan administration in 1984. It is the most recent far-sweeping legislative action on the issue of immigration to date.
No one defends the current system, which by all accounts is broken. Nevertheless, there is no clear consensus on a fix. Indeed, there is no accepted mechanism for determining job “needs” or measuring the effects of immigration levels on domestic job rates.