Does an Employer Have to Verify the Employment Authorization of Independent Contractors?
The deceptively short answer to this question is "No." First, the rule of law: Independent contractors are one of the three categories of workers exempt from the Form I-9 verification requirements. The other two categories of workers exempted from the I-9 requirement are 1) employees hired before Nov. 7, 1986; and 2) casual domestic workers who perform sporadic, irregular, or intermittent service in private homes.
Now comes the complex reality of the situation--while an employer does not have to verify the employment authorization of independent contractors or laborers provided by an independent contractor, employers may NOT use independent contractors in order to circumvent immigration laws. An employer can still be found liable if the employer has constructive knowledge of the unauthorized employment.