Employment Verification and Employer Sanctions

The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, enacted last fall, includes several documentation verification provisions that affect all employers. Although the implementing regulations have yet to be finalized, employers should be aware of the following changes:

1. Pilot programs. Employers may voluntarily participate in a pilot program for worker verification. Participating employers who obtain a compliance certificate will have established a rebuttable presumption that they have complied with the law’s hiring procedures.

2. Acceptable verification documents. The number of acceptable documents will be reduced. No longer acceptable are U.S. citizen or naturalization certificates and unexpired foreign passports. Although the USCIS information hotline currently states that birth certificates are acceptable for verification under 1990 law, they are not acceptable under the new law as evidence of employment authorization. USCIS promises employers a new list of acceptable documents by September 30, 1997.

In addition, USCIS has recently begun issuing a new Employment Authorization Document, the I-766, to aliens authorized to work temporarily in the U.S. Some aliens will continue to receive the I-688A or B as the new I-766 is phased in, but all three are currently acceptable “List A” documents.

3. Discrimination. Individuals must now prove that an employer intended to discriminate in order to bring a successful hiring discrimination claim. 
For more information on these laws and regulations, please contact NPZ Law Group