New Hampshire Amends Law on Employment of Undocumented Workers

New Hampshire has amended its existing state law prohibiting the knowing employment of unauthorized workers to require employers to obtain documentation showing that employees are authorized to work in the United States. The law is effective as of August 15, 2014.

New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) § 275-A:4-a (enacted in 1976) originally prohibited an employer from employing a person whom the employer knew was not a citizen of the United States and was not in possession of Form I-151, Alien Registration Receipt Card or any other document issued by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service or the Attorney General of the United States which authorized him or her to work. H.B. 1278 (2006) amended New Hampshire Rev. Stat. Ann. (RSA) § 275-A:5 (regarding penalties for violating certain laws relative to labor) by increasing the fine from $1,000 to $2,500 for each day of noncompliance.

A new bill, H.B. 168 (2014), has now amended that section to read as follows (new text is in italics):

“Employment of [Illegal Aliens] Undocumented Workers Prohibited. No employer may employ [an alien whom the employer knows is not a citizen of the United States and not in possession of Form I-151, Alien Registration Receipt Card or any other document issued by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service or the Attorney General of the United States which authorizes him to work] any employee without obtaining documentation showing the employee’s eligibility to work in the United States. The employer shall maintain such documentation for the period required by federal law. Acceptable documentation of eligibility to work in the United States shall include documents required by federal law or supporting documentation that satisfies the requirement of federal law.

As a practical matter, this section as amended simply requires employers to maintain the I-9 paperwork that they are already required to maintain pursuant to federal law; employers are not required to maintain any additional, state-specific paperwork. Note, however, that a violation of Sec. 275-A:4 is punishable under state law by a fine of $2,500 for each day of noncompliance.

[This article updates material in Fragomen, Shannon, and Montalvo, State Immigration Employment Compliance Handbook, §§ 25:1, 25:2.]

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