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Corporate Corner: Immigration Compliance for Employers, Part 2 No-Match Letters – Trends & Tips for Employers
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Along with an uptick in I-9 work authorization verification audits,
there has been a surge in employers receiving “no-match” letters from the
Social Security Administration (SSA). One practitioner notes that a single
firm received 2,500 no-match letters. What is an employer liable for, and
what to do? Does receipt of a no-match letter constitute constructive
knowledge that an employee may not be work-authorized?
No-Match Letters Trend Upward
In March 2019, SSA began mailing notifications to employers identified as
having at least one name and Social Security Number (SSN) combination
submitted on wage and tax statement (Form W-2) that do not match the
agency’s records. The purpose of the letter, SSA explains, is “to advise
employers that corrections are needed in order for us to properly post its
employee’s earnings to the correct record.” SSA acknowledges that there are
a number of reasons why reported names and SSNs may not agree with its
records, such as typographical errors, unreported name changes, and
inaccurate or incomplete employer records.
Tips for Employers
SSA recommends following these steps if an SSN fails to be verified:
Compare the failed SSN with your employment records. Correct any
typographical errors and resubmit the corrected data. If the name is
hyphenated, consider trying different versions of the name.
If your employment records match your submission, ask your employee to
check his or her Social Security card and inform you of any name or SSN
difference between your records and his or her card. If your employment
records are incorrect, correct your records and resubmit the corrected
If your employment record and the employee’s Social Security card
match, ask the employee to check with any local SSA office to resolve
the issue. Once the employee has contacted the SSA office, he or she
should inform you of any changes. You should correct your records
accordingly and resubmit the corrected data.
If the employee is unable to provide a valid SSN, SSA encourages you to
document your efforts to obtain the correct information. Documentation
should be retained with payroll records for three years.
If you are unable to contact the employee, SSA encourages you to
document your efforts.
If you have already sent a W-2 form with an incorrect name and/or SSN,
submit a Form W-2c (Corrected Wage and Tax Statement) to correct the
SSA notes that a mismatch is not a basis by itself for you to take any
adverse action against an employee, such as laying off, suspending, firing,
or discriminating against that employee. An employer that uses such a
mismatch to take “inappropriate adverse action” against a worker may
violate state or federal law. Also, SSA notes, the information received
regarding SSN verification “does not make any statement regarding a
worker’s immigration status.” Even if an employer receives multiple
no-match letters for the same employee, that is not an indication that the
worker lacks authorization to work and may simply be a reflection of an
unresolved disrepancy at SSA.
Note that although an SSA no-match by itself is insufficient to put an
employer on notice that an employee is unauthorized to work, or to require
reverification of I-9 documents or further inquiry as to the employee’s
work authorization, it may be risky for an employer not to follow up beyond
merely notifying an employee that a no-match letter has been received.
Within the parameters of the law, it is always advisable for an employer to
resolve an employee’s authorization to work to the employer’s satisfaction,
and to document those efforts, with the caution that requiring only
employees of certain national origins or racial/ethnic identities to
reverify their immigration status or work authorization, or requiring more
or different documents than allowed by law, could constitute an
antidiscrimination violation. Here again, as with I-9 verifications
discussed in Part 1, company policy should be applied consistently to all
<p>This post originally appeared on <a href=”https://wolfsdorf.com/blog/2019/08/24/corporate-corner-immigration-compliance-for-employers-part-2-no-match-letters-trends-and-tips-for-employers/” target=”_blank”>Wolfsdorf Rosenthal</a>. Reprinted with permission.</p>
About The Author<br/>
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<b>Wolfsdorf Rosenthal</b> is established in 1986, Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP is a full-service, top-rated immigration law firm providing exceptional immigration and visa services. With over 30 years of experience and offices in Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Monica, and Shanghai, the firm specializes in providing global immigration solutions for investors, multinational corporations, small businesses, academic and research institutions, artists and individuals.
Wolfsdorf Rosenthal attorneys are experts in their field and are featured contributors and speakers at local, national and global immigration forums and publications. They are also consistently recognized for their work and honored by the most prestigious awards on a national and global level.
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