Business owners in New York may need to be conscious of immigration law even if they are not actively involved in pursuing visas for their employees. Immigration law can have an impact on regular transactions, and if businesses fail to comply with the requirements of the law, they could be held accountable. According to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, employers in the United States are prohibited from knowingly hiring or employing workers who do not have permission to work in the country. This means that all employees must have an I-9 form on file with the company.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is responsible for investigating violations. Companies may be targeted for ICE audits and face extensive penalties or fines if they fail to maintain proper I-9 records for each employee. In some cases, companies may fall into IRCA non-compliance during reorganizations, mergers or acquisitions. Companies may decide to re-certify all of their employees, which means getting a new I-9 form from each worker. This can present a challenge for large workforces, so many companies choose to retain the records from the original company.
However, if those records are incomplete or missing, the successor company is taking on the liability for potential IRCA violations in case of an ICE audit. There may also be other complications for foreign nationals who work for companies that go through a merger or acquisition. A successor may, at minimum, be required to update a public file or even make a new petition to continue to employ a foreign national with an H1-B visa, for example.
Companies going through mergers and acquisitions may face an array of challenges, but it can be important to address immigration law. An attorney may help companies to handle their IRCA responsibilities and visa filings for relevant employees.