US Employment Rights & Work Authorization

As of January 2019, the U.S. unemployment rate stood at 4 percent. Last year, it dipped to 3.7 percent, the lowest it’s been since 1969. With a current labor shortage, US employers are revaluating and expanding their recruiting efforts to fill vacant positions. For international job seekers interested in living and working in the US, this is a great opportunity to find employment opportunities that provide higher salaries and career advancement. Immigrant (EB-5) and non-immigrant (H1-B) visa holders, alike, should understand their US employment rights in order to preempt and/or recognize potentially discriminatory actions during your job application process.

Expert Opinion Marsha Corchado CanAm

Know Your US Employment Rights

If you are starting your job search in the US but your work experience and education was obtained abroad, it’s important to know your US employment rights to be a successful job applicant. Depending on your country of origin, the employment laws you are familiar with may either be more or less restrictive depending on your country’s legal system and culture. Although employers are required to follow US employment laws and adhere to legal screening practices, some hiring managers may engage in covert discrimination based on their subconscious beliefs, biases or incorrect assumptions.

Here’s a recap of some important US employment laws:

·     Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 & 1991:

Prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants and employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.

·     State & City Employment Laws:

Many US states and cities, including New York and California, provide additional protection for sexual orientation, marital status, domestic violence status and criminal record.

·     Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA):

An employer is prohibited from discriminating based upon a person’s citizenship or immigration status. In addition, the law prohibits employers from hiring only U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents unless required to do so by law, regulation or government contract.

Know Your US Employment Rights

Your Visa & Work Authorization

Employers may review your international education and work experience and wrongly assume that you are not permitted to work in the US, which is discrimination based on either race, national origin or citizenship. To avoid any uncertainty, clearly state on your resume if you have valid US work authorization. An employer is not permitted to ask what type of work authorization you have during the recruitment and hiring process. If you accept a job offer, you are required to evidence your work authorization by filling out a USCIS Form I-9 within three days of your employment and revalidate if your current visa is renewed. Some employers use E-Verify, a web-based system, to establish an employee’s work authorization.

“Employers cannot reject valid documents or ask for additional documents beyond what is required for verification of work authorization. Importantly, an employee has the right to choose which of the acceptable documents listed in the Form I-9 to present for employment eligibility verification. An employer must accept any such document if it appears genuine and belongs to the individual employee,” said Walter S. Gindin, Director and In-house Immigration Counsel at CanAm Enterprises.


Immigrating to the US and finding a job can be an exciting and intimidating experience. Knowing your employment rights is the first step to feel empowered during your job search. How much information to disclose, and at what time, is critical to your success as a job applicant. Employment laws are amended annually, and you should be aware how any such changes may impact your job search approach.

About CanAm Enterprises 

CanAm Enterprises, with over three decades of experience promoting immigration-linked investments in the US and Canada, has a demonstrated track record of success. With over 60 financed projects and $3 billion in raised EB-5 investments, CanAm has earned a reputation for credibility and trust. To date, CanAm has repaid more than $2.26 billion in EB-5 capital from over 4,530 families. CanAm manages several USCIS-designated regional centers that stretch across multiple states. For more information, please visit



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