Q. My daughter recently interviewed with a placement agency for non-profit jobs. They requested two photo IDs and suggested a passport. My daughter asked why they would want a passport and was told they use it for the agency's employment records since she would be placed and paid by the agency. She brought the passport with her and they made a photocopy. She gave other identifying information on the application, including her social security number. I've never heard of an agency requesting or photocopying a passport and was uneasy with this request. Is there anything to be concerned about?
A.Protecting your identity is a valid concern, and proceeding with caution any time you are asked to produce this type of information is a good course of action. This is an example where it is a necessity to provide the requested documents.
Your daughter and all new employees will be asked to complete a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Form, a document from the Department of Homeland Security and US Citizenship and Immigration Services. The purpose of the form, as stated on the I-9 is "to document that each new employee (both citizen and non-citizen) hired after November 6, 1986 is authorized to work in the United States."
Employees need to produce documents that establish both identity and employment eligibility.
Two forms of identification, one with a picture (typically a driver’s license) and one without (such as a social security card or birth certificate) are required to verify someone’s ability to work in the US.
A passport becomes the only document you need, as in order to get it you need to have produced the above. There is a very complete list of acceptable documents on the site. Employers, including agencies, are responsible for filling out part one of the form at the time of hire, and reviewing the documents for part two within three business days of employment.
Providing a social security number is voluntary except for employees hired by employers participating in the USCIS Electronic Eligibility Verification Progra, (E-Verify). If a person is going to be employed by and paid by the agency, this is just as much of a requirement as a social security number is needed for payroll purposes.
Technically, employers may - but are not required to - copy the documents, and the information from the passport or other identification can just be written onto the I-9 by the employer and signed, verifying that they saw it. However it is standard practice in most HR departments that a copy be kept.