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What Should I do if I Get a “No-Match” Letter?

If you are in the restaurant, hospitality or agriculture business, many of your employees may be undocumented. Or, maybe you own a mechanics shop, and you are worried because over half of your staff is undocumented. This worry could soon become a real problem for you.

The Social Security Administration has recently resumed sending out “No Match Letters,” to businesses with suspected illegal immigrants posing as those with work authorization, which is a practice it ended in 2012. A “No Match” letter is a that an individual on your payroll has a social security number that does not match the individual the Social Security Administration’s records say the number was assigned to. The letter gives you instructions on how to log onto an online system and view the individual violations, and gives you 60 days to correct them.

When you receive a “No-Match” letter, you have several decisions to make. How do you tell your employee about the letter? Should you give them time to correct the issue? And if so, how much time? What if your employee did not provide you with truthful paperwork the first time around, but has such documentation now? Should you let them go for deception? The legal landscape here is rough terrain, and littered with land mines that can cause your business to be legally liable for a myriad of issues. Restaurant Hospitality has in fact, already covered this issue to alert those in that area, a large target for immigration enforcement, that this issue is coming to a head. If you are having trouble knowing what to do in this situation, it is of course always wise to consult an immigration attorney, but there is some basic information every business owner should know.

What can I do to Prepare for an I-9?

If, you feel you have a problem or if, you have received a “No Match Letter”, or you're worried that you may be subject to an I-9 Audit, please call an attorney at Guest and Gray. We can help you take steps to an install internal systems, that will review your I-9s periodically, to ensure that no one with expired documentation will continue working until it their information is rectified. We can help you, understand when it is and isn't ok to ask an employee to fill out another I-9 and how to respond when you do received notice that your employees documents might not be legal. It is important, that you as an employer take the right actions to protect you and your company. Because you are in receipt of such a letter, if the federal government raid was to do a raid at your business location, you could be subject to higher fines and possibly even criminal penalties for any individual they find without proper documentation since the “No Match” letter would be considered notice.

To avoid this kind of scenario all together, it’s important to appraise your hiring and supervisory staff on the ins and outs of I-9 compliance, and instruct them on proper I-9 record keeping. You should have a system in place to periodically review the I-9s in your system, and confirm that all current employees have one on file, and that none of the documentation they provided to demonstrate employment authorization has expired.

*We here at Guest & Gray, have many years of practice in both I-9 compliance and immigration law, and can help you set up such a pro-active system, or deal with No-Match Letters. Please contact us today, to speak to any of our experience Immigration and Business law attorneys, so we can assist you in any and all related matters.

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