Question:  Is it possible to hire an employee without a Green Card or Social Security Number, and offer benefits, if they are qualified for the position?

Answer:  We cannot recommend hiring an undocumented worker, no matter what the worker’s skills are.  Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), federal law requires companies to ONLY employ workers who are legally authorized to work in the United States (U.S. Citizens or foreign citizens with the necessary authorization).  The law requires that all workers complete an I-9 form that is verified by the employer to prove that legal right to work in the U.S.  If she cannot produce the proper documentation, then she should not be hired, so the second part of your question relating to benefits eligibility would be moot.

For more information about documentation and the employer’s responsibilities under the law, please review the updated Handbook for Employers – Guidance for Completing Form I-9.   Relevant sections include:

Page 1 if you would like to review the Homeland Security Act

Page 31 to review Unlawful Discrimination and Penalties for Prohibited Practices

Page 42 to review employer responsibility (see #9)