Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)

When Congress passed and the president signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the result was the first major revision of America’s immigration laws in decades. The law seeks to preserve jobs for those who are legally entitled to them—American citizens and aliens who are authorized to work in the United States.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service is responsible for implementing this law. IRCA prohibits employers from knowingly hiring, recruiting, or referring for a fee any alien who is unauthorized to work. The public policy behind this law reflects the concern that the problem of illegal immigration and employment requires greater control and stronger enforcement mechanisms by the federal government. As a result of this law, all employers are required to verify both the identity and employment eligibility of all regular, temporary employees, temporary agency personnel, and student employees hired after November 6, 1986, and complete and retain a one-page form (INS Form I-9) documenting this verification. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in both civil and criminal liability with the imposition of substantial fines ranging from $100 to $1,000 per hire, as well as possible imprisonment for a pattern or practice of noncompliance. Most importantly, failure to verify a new employee’s identity and employment eligibility will result in the termination of employment for that employee.

For full information on Boston University’s Form I-9 process for either a hiring manager or a new employee, please click on the following:

BU Hiring Managers

New Employees