Employment Related to Immigration Status

According to Pew Research, “Unauthorized immigrants represented 3.4% of the total U.S. population in 2015.”1 This is a large number of people in our country with many seeking employment. The legality between employment and immigration status can be confusing in the United States. As an immigration bond company, we at US Immigration Bonds & Insurance Services want to help you understand immigration topics.

Can You Work Illegally?

If you are currently in the US as an illegal immigrant, you do not have the legal documentation that is required to hold a job in the United States. As an illegal immigrant, you cannot legally be hired by someone for a job. Your boss is required to have you fill out legal forms and documents with your social security number upon hiring you. The reason people end up working illegally and getting away with it is that they use fake documents (which could lead to big trouble later on) or their boss does not submit the proper legal paperwork and is paying under the table.

Can Your Boss get in Trouble for Paying You Under the Table?

Yes, your boss can get in trouble for paying you under the table. If your boss is paying you under the table, it means that they are skirting the legal process, and you are not legally recognized by the government as one of their employees. Paying under the table is illegal and could lead to serious penalties for both the employer and the employee. You boss could even be charged with criminal convictions.

How to Get a Work Visa

One way to work legally in the US is to get an Employment Authorization Document, more simply called a work visa. To do so, you must meet certain requirements for the particular visa you are seeking and the prospective employer must apply for one with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. This can be a lengthy process.

Difference Between a Work Visa and a Green Card

Whereas work visas are only temporary, rights of green card holders include allowing the person to permanently remain and work in the United State indefinitely (assuming you do not commit any large crimes). While work visas require a specific application process, a green card could be given to someone for of a variety of reasons including marriage, the lottery system, or that you are seeking asylum.

Employment Rights of Illegal Aliens

It can come as a surprise to some people that illegal aliens still have certain rights. Undocumented workers have a right to be paid minimum wage and overtime, they are protected from discrimination by The Immigration and Nationality Act2, and they can receive workers’ compensation.


[1]: Pew Research- 5 facts about illegal immigration in the U.S.
[2]: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission- The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1324