I-9 Verification Forms Help Employer Determine Eligibility

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), July 9, 2006 | Go to article overview
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I-9 Verification Forms Help Employer Determine Eligibility


Byline: ON THE JOB Bureau of Labor & Industries in The Register-Guard

Question: I am a senior partner of an accounting company, and at my recommendation the firm recently hired my neighbor's daughter, who just graduated from college.

I informed the human resources staff that I've lived next door to our new accountant since she was born, so it is not necessary to ask her for proof of citizenship as we do for other new hires.

The HR manager told me that she must ask the new employee for the information because the federal law requires employers to fill out I-9 forms on all employees regardless of whether they are known to other employees.

It seems as if HR is on a bit of a power trip, and I'm a bit embarrassed because, as a senior partner, I think I should have some influence on helping my neighbor's daughter cut past this formality.

Why are they being so picky about this?

Answer: The Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, requires employers to check identification and work eligibility documents and complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form (an I-9) on anyone hired after Nov. 6, 1986.

The I-9 form lists several kinds of documents (such as passports, alien registration cards, driver's licenses and social security cards) that an employee can present to show that he or she is legally authorized to work in the United States.

An employer who fails to comply with I-9 requirements is subject to sanctions. In order to ensure that all employees are treated equally, there is no exception to the employer's obligation to fill out an I-9 form for each employee, even if the employer has firsthand knowledge that the employee is a U.S. citizen or is legally authorized to work in the United States.

So, your HR colleagues are not being unnecessarily inflexible in insisting that your long-term neighbor, just like all other incoming employees, is subject to the Form I-9 requirements - despite the fact that you have known her since she was in diapers.

Question: The other day, I interviewed a job applicant who informed me she is from Puerto Rico, so during the interview I asked to see her `green card' in order to make sure she can legally work here in the United States if we decide to hire her.

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I-9 Verification Forms Help Employer Determine Eligibility
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