Four Tips To Dealing With Immigration Changes
Dealing with changes in immigration reform can be challenging for employers. Here are four tips that can help you prepare for what’s to come.
1. Have a policy regarding no-match letters and protecting innocent bystanders
Properly addressing no-match letters and how you plan to protect innocent bystanders can keep your company out of legal trouble as well as away from a PR nightmare. The Social Security Administration (SSA) issues no-match letters. They are sent when an employee’s name and Social Security Number (SSN) do not match SSA records. It is important that you do not take a no-match letter to mean that your employee is an undocumented worker. There are many reasons a no-match letter would be sent, identity theft, reporting errors, an unreported name change due to marriage or divorce, etc.
If you don’t find a reporting error, let your employee know about the no-match letter and inform them they need to get the situation worked out with the SSA. It is important to give them a reasonable amount of time to accomplish this, 120 days. If the employee is unable to rectify the situation or they admit that they are an undocumented worker you unfortunately need to terminate their employment.
Protecting innocent bystanders is something that is easy for your company to do. Innocent bystanders are individuals whose SSN is being used by an undocumented worker. Many times companies ignore the phone calls when an innocent bystander calls to let them know their taxes indicate they have worked for your company, but never have. You can protect the innocent bystander by filing Forms W-2c and W-3. These forms will keep the wages that someone else earned from being reported under the innocent bystanders SSN.
2. Warn employees about notario fraud and other scams
Part of being prepared is making sure you keep your employees informed. Notarios are individuals who represent themselves as having legal knowledge. They routinely harm immigrants and can hinder their ability to get legal work status in the U.S. The best way to help your employees is to explain that these people are not qualified lawyers and for you to keep a list of qualified lawyers that can help.
3. Have a policy regarding service letters for employees
A policy on service letters will protect the company and establish standards across the board for all employees. Service letters are not used just for immigration purposes, so it is important to not assume that because someone is requesting a service letter they are an undocumented worker. The most important things to keep in mind with service letters is that you don’t want to ask why the employee needs the service letter and you want to address all letters to “To whom it may concern.”
4. Have a policy regarding company loans
Employees that are getting legal authorization to work in the U.S. might need financial assistance. If your company is able, it is a good policy to offer loans for when emergencies arise and your employees need financial help. Much like the service letters, you do not want to know the reason why the employee needs to loan, just that an exigent circumstance has arisen.
If you have any questions, need to ensure compliance with federal regulations, or need to update or create company policies and procedures, you should contact an experienced labor and employment attorney.
Jacob Monty is the Managing Partner at Monty & Ramirez LLP in Houston, Texas.