Although foreign nationals are not often specifically prosecuted for working without authorization, many new state laws punish the employers who hire them. Arizona and Florida, for example, want to require employers to participate in E-verify. E-verify is a federally run program that allows employers to double check the information provided by the employee. If a foreign national provides an incorrect or invalid social security number, they will get caught through E-verify. Also, if you ever apply for an immigration benefit, the government will require your employment history.
It's Against The Law
It is against federal law for an employer to employ a foreign national who does not have work authorization. Similarly, it is also against the law to get employment using another person's social security number. If a foreign national is caught using another person's social security number, they could be charged with fraud, aggravated identify theft (which carries a two year minimum prison sentence) or even larceny. Because all of these offenses are considered crimes involving moral turpitude, foreign nationals may be denied relief from deportation if they commit them.
It Will Result In Deportation
You will be deported if you violate the terms of your visa. Engaging in unauthorized activity, like working when you entered as a tourist, is an example. If caught, the foreign national will be placed in removal proceedings before an Immigration Judge. Working on a tourist visa might also be grounds for a charge of fraud, if the government can prove the foreign national lied when she applied for the visa.
It Leads To Tax Evasion
People who work without authorization have two choices when it comes to filing taxes: 1) file and send a record of the fact that you worked without authorization directly to the government; or 2) don't file and break the law by not paying taxes. Those who work illegally may prefer not to file a tax return for many reasons, such as: not knowing how much they made, fear of disclosing their identity to the government, fear of disclosing their employer's information, or lack of a social security number. Whatever the reason, the government will learn about the tax evasion. Either the IRS will figure it out through an audit of the employer or Immigration will figure it out when you are required to submit copies of your tax returns with certain immigration forms.
You Could Be Called A Public Charge
Not filing taxes based on the lie that you have no income means you will appear to be a public charge. This is an individual who the government believes will depend on public resources while inside of the United States, rather than on their own income or assets. Visas and residency can be denied to foreign nationals who are considered public charges. Remember, one lie will lead to many lies.
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