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new potential employee

I have an employee I want to bring on to my company. The company is based in atlanta, our office is in Utah. His name shall be Mike. Mike was born in Canada. He has a social insurance # (comparable to US SS card) and a birth certificate. Also he has lived in the USA for the past 7 years. His dad is a US resident. Mike has submitted all his paperwork about two years ago and is awaiting his permanent residency card. He does not have a work visa, but says because his dad is a resident and he has the two forms of ID, as required by Form I-9, he has been able to get employment in several other places over the last few years.

Can I hire him?

Sorry, but if you hire Mike you will be breaking the law. Even worse — you will be knowingly hiring an illegal alien. It is not legal for Mike to work in the U.S. He knows this, and your question indicates that you know it, too.

The I-9 includes a very specific list of documents that can be used to prove that the employee can legally work in this country.  A U.S. Social Security card (issued by the Social Security Administration) is one of them, because this card is issued only to people who can legally work in the U.S. The Canadian Social Insurance card, obviously, does not allow a person to legally work in the U.S. (It entitles a person to certain benefits from the Canadian government.)

The U.S. birth certificate serves the same purpose — it shows that the individual is a U.S. citizen and can legally work in the U.S. The Canadian birth certificate does not. Mike is not a U.S. citizen, and cannot legally work in the U.S. He would need a resident I.D. card (also called a green card) or an unexpired employment authorization document from the DHS, to legally work in the U.S. The fact that Mikes father has a green card means that the father can legally work in the U.S. — but not that the son can do so.

Note that in addition to one of these documents Mike would need a U.S. or Canadian drivers license or state ID, to prove his identity.

Even if Mike had been living in the U.S. for 70 years, without those documents he cannot legally work here.

Frankly, we do not believe Mikes assertion that he has used his Canadian Social Insurance card and Canadian birth certificate for U.S. employment in the past. If he has been working in the US, it was probably *under the table* from a company that did not require an I-9.

If you really, really want to hire this person, go through the application process to obtain a H-1b Visa for him. It is expensive and cumbersome, but it is the only way you can legally hire him.

View the list of acceptable I-9 documents at:

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This entry was posted on Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 8:20 am and is filed under
Hiring and Staffing.
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