In 2019, as in years past, construction companies engaged our firm to help them adhere to immigration compliance programs to retain critical contracts. Increasingly, more large companies that utilize outside service providers and subcontractors are requiring direct suppliers of services, and all of their subcontractors, to implement their own immigration verification programs. Immigration compliance programs are becoming particularly common among national companies that put out bids for large construction projects with many subcontractors or that contract out for multi-location janitorial and plant sanitation and cleaning services.
Immigration compliance programs are designed to ensure that the contracted outside service provider companies are in compliance with I-9 employment verification obligations. To secure work with these large companies, outside service providers and subcontractors must agree to terms that go beyond the federal I-9 verification requirements. For example, many companies require outside service providers to submit annual I-9 compliance auditor certifications and agree to cooperate with the company’s random audits. For each worker assigned (for example, to work on a building construction site or join a sanitation crew), the outside service provider must attest to having a completed I-9 on file. Workers without compliant I-9 verification documents cannot be assigned access badges to the job. Likewise, companies that fail random audits or fail to provide annual I-9 compliance audits will lose the right to contract with companies that manage these programs.
Our immigration attorneys have conducted internal audits and completed third-party I-9 compliance audit certifications for construction companies. These services, and the advice and training that accompanies the audit reports, help third-party companies maintain compliance with their federal I-9 obligations, but also ensure that they retain what are often crucial contracts with large, national companies for significant projects.