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I was contacted by a recruitment agency over the phone and we decided to meet in person before they search for a job for me. They sent me an email asking me to bring a driver's license or US Passport or Social Security card in order to complete I-9 form saying "let's get it done before we start searching for a job for you." Can they ask for this information now?

How can it be possible to file an I-9 before there is a job in hand?

Update

This clearly says :

Your employer MAY NOT:

Demand that you show specific documents because of your national origin, ethnicity, immigration or citizenship status, race, color, religion, age, gender or disability, or because of any other protected characteristic. For example, your employer may not: Request that you show a document issued by the Department of Homeland Security because you are not a U.S. citizen. Require U.S. passports from new employees who “sound foreign” and claim U.S. citizenship.

Source

  • Are you sure it isn't a temp agency in disguise? In those cases you typically work for the agency and they bill the client rather than you working directly for the company itself. – JohnFx Nov 16 '11 at 2:43
  • its sorta like that but still why do they need to see DL or SS card to even begin the job hunting? Isnt it illegal to ask such things? I sure read somewhere that it is. – Asdfg Nov 16 '11 at 3:51
  • @Asdfg - if its a temp agency then they must have your I-9 on file. However, there's a whole list of documents you can use to prove your eligibility, SS card+DL being only one of the options. – littleadv Nov 16 '11 at 4:35
  • @littleadv : there are 100s of temp agencies who call for the job but no one asks for I-9 related documents until they offer the job. Thats how it has been working since i got my GC. This is the first time someone is asking me to show these documents before searching a job for me. – Asdfg Nov 18 '11 at 17:32
  • @Asdfg - I'm not a lawyer, but I think it depends on how they treat you. If they treat you as "employee on the bench" - they must have your I-9. If they treat you as "potential" but only officially hire you when they have a job for you - then they can do what you describe. Both options are valid. – littleadv Nov 18 '11 at 19:09
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Unless they're the actual employers, the I-9 is none of their business. Your employer must verify your eligibility for employment on the first day of your employment, i.e.: when you find a job you'll have to fill I-9 anyway.

The only reason I can think for them to do it is to verify that you're eligible for employment before they waste any time on searching for a job for you. I'm not sure if they're legally allowed to ask for your status, so maybe that's their way of working around that.

I don't think they can require you to fill I-9, and in fact I'm not sure if its even legal for them to obtain that information without actually being your employers. IMHO, that is, consult with an attorney if you want a proper legal advice.

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