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Work Authorization for Non-U.S. Citizens: General Information on Immigration, Including I-9 Forms


 
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Updated: September 2009


Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, (INA)(http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.f6da51a2342135be7e9d7a10e0dc91a0/?vgnextoid=fa7e539dc4bed010VgnVCM1000000ecd190aRCRD&vgnextchannel=fa7e539dc4bed010VgnVCM1000000ecd190aRCRD&CH=act) as amended

Who is Covered

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is administered by the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) of the Employment and Training Administration (ETA). The INA includes provisions addressing employment eligibility, employment verification, and nondiscrimination. These provisions apply to all employers.


Basic Provisions/Requirements

Under the INA, employers may hire only persons who may legally work in the United States (i.e., citizens and nationals of the U.S.) and aliens authorized to work in the U.S. The employer must verify the identity and employment eligibility of anyone to be hired, which includes completing the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9)(http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf). Employers must keep each I-9 on file for at least three years, or one year after employment ends, whichever is longer.


Employee Rights

The INA protects U.S. citizens and aliens authorized to accept employment in the U.S. from discrimination in hiring or discharge on the basis of national origin and citizenship status.


Recordkeeping, Reporting, Notices and Posters


Notices and Posters

Notices and poster requirements vary by the classification of alien or foreign worker being hired. Please see the specific INA chapters to determine the notices and poster requirements for each immigration category.


Recordkeeping

Recordkeeping requirements vary by the classification of alien or foreign worker being hired. Please see the specific INA chapters to determine the recordkeeping requirements for each immigration category.


Reporting

Reporting requirements vary by the classification of alien or foreign worker being hired. Please see the specific INA chapters to determine the reporting requirements for each immigration category.


Penalties/Sanctions

Employers who fail to complete and/or retain the I-9 forms are subject to penalties. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)(http://www.dhs.gov/) enforces the INA requirements on verification of employment eligibility. The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices(http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/activity.php#osc) enforces the anti-discrimination provisions.


Relation to State, Local, and Other Federal Laws

Not applicable.


Compliance Assistance Available

More detailed information, including copies of explanatory brochures and regulatory and interpretative materials, may be obtained from local offices of the Wage and Hour Division(http://www.wagehour.dol.gov) and the Employment and Training Administration. Please see the specific INA chapters for more information.


DOL Contacts

Employment and Training Administration, Office of Foreign Labor Certification(http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/)
E-mail: ETApagemaster@dol.gov
Tel: 1-877-US2JOBS (1-877-872-5627) or 1-202-693-3010; TTY

Wage and Hour Division(http://www.dol.gov/whd/)
Contact WHD(http://www.dol.gov/whd/contactform.asp)
Tel: 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243); TTY: 1-877-889-5627

The Employment Law Guide is offered as a public resource. It does not create new legal obligations and it is not a substitute for the U.S. Code, Federal Register, and Code of Federal Regulations as the official sources of applicable law. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is complete and accurate as of the time of publication, and this will continue. Later versions of this Guide will be offered at www.dol.gov/compliance or by calling our Toll-Free Help Line at 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365) (1-866-487-2365).

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