Hiring and Working with Immigrants: Do You Know the Law?

Posted by Matt Simon on Nov 5, 2009

When it comes to hiring and working with immigrants, do you know what to do?  Done correctly, you can formulate and nurture your most valuable asset... without proper attention to detail and the law, you could be asking your insurance agent if you have the proper Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI).

Perhaps you will never run into this situation, but someone you know might. It's definitely a tricky subject, and knowing the law and your responsibilities is crucial for staying out of trouble.

For instance, did you know that you can't legally check someone's work eligibility until after you've hired them?
 
According to Inc. Magazine, you have to take their word that they can legally work in the U.S. until after you've agreed to hire them.

And, do you know how to check someone's work eligibility after they've been hired?

Have them complete Form I-9, the Employee Eligibility Verification form.  You can download it easily from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Another great tip to hiring immigrants comes from SCORE.  They recommend that businesses keep things simple by limiting the number of languages spoken at work.  This will reduce your need for interpreters.

Now think, just for a moment, of what it might be like if you were working in a foreign country and you didn't speak the language well...  If there were several other employees from your culture working at the same company, don't you think you'd want to stick close by them?  Sure you would!

SCORE advises business owners not to be surprised if a community develops with immigrant workers.  It's only natural that they would want to stick together and provide support to each other while at work.  

This brings us to another important point...

Working in a foreign country can be an overwhelming experience.  Why not provide a mentor for your immigrant workers?

This mentor could help your new employee learn the ropes, not only for your company but for the culture as well.  And, they could offer constructive feedback as your employee settles into their new role.

Now let's look at the language barrier...

It's important to keep in mind that foreign workers don't always have direct translations for the English language.  Sometimes we use words that don't even exist in their language!

This not only causes confusion, but it can also result in dangerous miscommunication.

If your new employee looks like he or she is having difficulty understanding you, ask them to rephrase what you just said.  Having them repeat instructions or phrases can be incredibly helpful in clearing up language barriers.

There are several benefits to hiring immigrant workers.  Not only are they often incredibly gifted and loyal, but they can bring a set of fresh eyes and viewpoints to your workplace.

Hiring immigrants doesn't have to be a stressful experience.  Just make sure you know the law and your responsibilities as an employer.

 

Cyber & Data Liability Insurance eBook

Category: Employment Practices Liability Insurance (2), Business Insurance (2)