New Program Aims to Help Employers Comply with Immigration Law

Via HR.BLR.com
07/27/2006


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has launched a new initiative to help employers ensure that they are hiring and employing a workforce that is authorized to work in the United States.


Called the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE), the program is designed to build cooperative relationships between government and businesses to strengthen hiring practices and reduce the employment of illegal aliens. The initiative also seeks to accomplish greater industry compliance and corporate due diligence through enhanced enhanced federal training and education of employers .


Under the program, the department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will partner with companies that will serve as charter members of IMAGE and liaisons to the larger business community.


As part of this program, businesses must also adhere to a series of best practices, including the use of the Basic Pilot Employment Verification Program, administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To date, more than 10,000 employers are using the Basic Pilot Employment Verification to check the work authorization of their newly hired employees.


ICE will provide training and education to IMAGE partners on proper hiring procedures, fraudulent document detection, and anti-discrimination laws. ICE will also share data with employers on the latest illegal schemes used to circumvent legal hiring processes. Furthermore, ICE will review the hiring and employment practices of IMAGE partners.


Those companies that comply with the terms of IMAGE will become “IMAGE certified,” a distinction that ICE says could become an industry standard.


In order to participate in the program, companies must first agree to a Form I-9 audit by ICE. They must also use the Basic Pilot Employment Verification program when hiring employees. In order to become IMAGE-certified, partners must also adhere to a series of best practices. These include the creation of internal training programs for completing employment verification forms and detecting fraudulent documents. IMAGE partners must also arrange for audits by neutral parties and establish protocols for responding to no-match letters from the Social Security Administration. ICE is also asking employers to establish a tip line for employees to report violations and mechanisms for companies to self-report violations to ICE. A full list of best practices can be found at www.ice.gov .

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