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The Legal Way to Handle I-9s and No-Match Letters

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12/20/2006 presentation to the National Institute of Business Management regarding complying with I-9 and SSA rules in light of the recent raids on Swift & Company meat packing plants around the country

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The Legal Way to Handle I-9s and No-Match Letters

  1. 1. The Legal Way to Handle I-9s and No-Match Letters Greg Siskind – [email_address] www.visalaw.com National Institute of Business Management 20 December 2006
  2. 2. The Swift Raids <ul><li>Raid of six plants owned by Swift & Company, the world’s second largest beef and pork processor. </li></ul><ul><li>1300 employees arrested </li></ul><ul><li>Identity theft as opposed to I-9 violations (5% of arrests resulted in identity theft charges) </li></ul><ul><li>Swift used Basic Pilot program </li></ul><ul><li>Company not charged, but they’ve lost 10% of their work force and suffered a PR disaster </li></ul><ul><li>A sign of things to come? </li></ul>
  3. 3. SSA No Match Letters <ul><li>What exactly is a “no match” letter? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nearly 4% of records don’t match </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How much money is sitting in the Earnings Suspense file? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Three types of letters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>DECOR employee letter </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>DECOR employer letter </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>EDCOR letter </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are reasons an employer’s records might not match? </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Overreacting to a No Match Letter <ul><li>Does a “no match” letter mean my company is being targeted for enforcement? </li></ul><ul><li>Am I required to fire employees who are the subject of a no match letter? </li></ul><ul><li>Am I on notice as far as my I-9 obligations that some employees may not have presented legitimate documents? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Properly Reacting to a No Match Letter <ul><li>Do not ask employees to bring in their documents again (unless you do an across the board re-verification VERY cautiously) </li></ul><ul><li>Do not assume employees who are listed on the no match letter are undocumented or have provided false documents </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure the errors are not on the company’s part and report errors to SSA </li></ul>
  6. 6. Dealing with Employees <ul><li>Post a general notice to all employees regarding the no match letter </li></ul><ul><li>Instruct employees to deal directly with SSA and give contact information </li></ul><ul><li>Get employees connected with immigrant advocacy organizations or arrange for outside counsel or advocates to provide seminars to employees </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Proposed Rule <ul><li>June 2006 proposed rule </li></ul><ul><li>May never be adopted </li></ul><ul><li>Abiding by the rules now may subject you to liability </li></ul>
  8. 8. What do the proposed rules do? <ul><li>If employers don’t follow “safe harbor” procedures, DHS could use failure to act upon a no match letter as evidence that the employer has “constructive knowledge” that an employee is unauthorized to work </li></ul>
  9. 9. Proposed Safe Harbor Procedures <ul><li>Within 14 days of SSA no match letter, employer has checked records and, if no errors on employer’s part, employer has asked worker to confirm information is correct. </li></ul><ul><li>Within 14 days of DHS no match letter, employer takes “reasonable” steps to resolve question about immigration status document or employment document </li></ul>
  10. 10. Safe Harbor proposal (cont.) <ul><li>Within 60 days receiving either kind of no match letter, the employer must re-verify I-9 </li></ul><ul><li>Employee cannot use the SSN or alien number that is the subject of the no match letter </li></ul><ul><li>If the matter is not resolved, employer must terminate or risk being found to have “constructive knowledge” </li></ul>
  11. 11. I-9 Tips <ul><li>Conduct preventative audits </li></ul><ul><li>Correct problems and keep copies of original documents showing the changes corrected. </li></ul><ul><li>Track dates of hire and termination in order to purge files no longer required for retention </li></ul>
  12. 12. I-9 Tips <ul><li>Only accept original documents </li></ul><ul><li>Do not delegate I-9/visa responsibilities to the department making the hire </li></ul><ul><li>Do not let the new/junior person in the office manage the process </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure the form is completed in front of an employee or representative of the company </li></ul>
  13. 13. I-9 Tips <ul><li>Conduct regular trainings on compliance </li></ul><ul><li>To copy or not to copy? </li></ul><ul><li>Store electronically or via paper? </li></ul><ul><li>Use Basic Pilot or IMAGE? </li></ul><ul><li>Automate a re-verification system </li></ul><ul><li>Destroy records not required to be retained (as long as no enforcement actions under way or likely) </li></ul>

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