Federal Immigration Requirements

From: Staffing

Federal Immigration Requirements


Under immigration laws and regulations, employers may legally hire workers only if they are U.S. citizens or aliens authorized to work in the United States. This article addresses the federal rules that govern documentation of eligible employees, antidiscrimination enforcement, and temporary and permanent employment of foreign nationals. Per §§ 274A – 274C of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), all U.S. employers are required to verify that their employees are authorized to work in the United States. Verification is completed upon the submission of Form I-9, Employer Eligibility Verification Form, by all new hires, accompanied by documentation confirming identity and authorization to work in the United States.

While the purpose of Form I-9 requirements is to eliminate the employment of unauthorized aliens, the laws also include provisions that prohibit discrimination on the basis of citizenship and national origin. As a result, employers may be penalized if they engage in activities, such as demanding specific documents or more documents than required by Form I-9, which could have a disparate impact upon one of the protected classes of job applicants. An employer who demands more documents than required or rejects documents that appear to be genuine may be subject to civil penalties for each individual discriminated against. Employers found to have engaged in any unfair immigration-related employment practices (UIREPs) may also be subject to penalties for each individual discriminated against.

UIREPs include any of the following:

  • Refusing to hire or discharging a protected individual because of national origin or citizenship.
  • Requesting specific documents.
  • Rejecting apparently valid documents during employment eligibility verification for the purpose or with the intent of discriminating on the basis of citizenship or national origin.