Immigration Compliance for Employers: How to Ensure Legal and Ethical Hiring Practices

Hiring new employees is hard. Hiring an immigrant is even harder.


There are numerous steps employers must take throughout the hiring process to ensure fair and legal practices when hiring an immigrant. 


It’s essential for employers to fully understand the steps they need to take to perform legal and fair hiring practices involving immigrants. 

Immigration Policies to Follow

Understand Immigration Laws: The first thing companies need to do is understand the immigration laws and regulations for your area. If you are hiring immigrants, it can be helpful to hire an attorney to help you stay updated on the latest immigration policies and laws. An immigration attorney can help you understand which policies pertain to your business and your hiring needs. 


Establish Clear Hiring Policies: To ensure compliance, your company must create and document hiring policies. These should include general policies for all new hires, as well as specific steps to follow when interviewing and hiring immigrants. Some steps that should be included are verifying employment eligibility, and checking documentation. Putting these in writing can help ensure all employees and personnel comply with the policies and procedures. 


Check Employment Eligibility: As part of the procedures, companies should implement a process to verify the employment eligibility of all job applicants. This should be followed for all applicants, whether they are an immigrant or not. This typically involves completing Form I-9. During this process, employers must verify each candidate’s identity and work authorization documents they provided, and retain the completed forms as required by law.


Don’t Discrimination: One of the most important aspects of the hiring process is to ensure you are not discriminating against any applicant or employee based on their national origin, citizenship status, or immigration status. All applicants should be treated equally and given a fair opportunity to get the job. This includes being careful during the interview process to not ask candidates certain questions including where they are from.


Know What Work Authorization Documents Are Acceptable: Employers should regularly review the list of acceptable documents for verifying employment eligibility. This will ensure you are using the most current versions, and are catching any updates or changes. 


Train HR Staff: Provide training to your Human Resources staff or those involved in the hiring process. Train them on immigration compliance requirements, proper completion of Form I-9, how to recognize fraudulent documents, and how to handle sensitive immigration-related information.


Review Compliance: Your company should conduct regular internal audits to review compliance with all hiring laws and immigration laws. You should evaluate your hiring practices, Form I-9 records, and other related documentation to identify any potential issues.


Keep Records: It’s essential to keep accurate and up-to-date records of all employee information, including Form I-9 and any supporting documents. There should be a clear process in place to organize and safely store these records. If your company is audited or asked to show the documents, they should be easily accessible. 


Track Visas: If you have employees who have work visas, it’s essential to monitor the expiration dates. This will help ensure they are renewed on time or extended. There should be a process in place for how to track these expiration dates and ensure your company is complying with all mandates. 


Hire an Immigration Attorney: Businesses need to hire an immigration attorney to ensure they are complying with all necessary laws. An attorney can answer questions you have, help you establish procedures, ensure you are collecting and storing the right information and documents, and help you navigate any challenges you encounter. 


Why Hire Us 

When hiring immigrants, make sure you comply with all laws and mandates. To ensure you comply, let our immigration attorneys at Johnstone Adams LLC help you. 


Ranked in the 2023 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list regionally in 12 practice areas, we have experts in many areas of law to give our clients top-notch representation. In business for more than a century, our firm can mix its experience with the ability to evolve with the changing times.


To get started, contact us at 251-319-4659 or

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