Business & Economics
The Positives and Negatives of Hiring Undocumented Workers Some people might have this experience. Say that you need a new roof. You’ve noticed that high winds have blown off some of the shingles, so you meet with a series of contractors to get some quotes. They all agree that you need a total tear-off rather than slapping a Band-aid on the issue. One of them gives you a quote that you like, so they begin to draw up the paperwork. Then, they mention that they’ll give you a 2% discount on the job if you agree to provide them with the money all in cash rather than cutting a check. You agree, and the next day, a crew shows up, along with the foreman. You quickly realize that none of them except for the foreman speak any English. They’re all speaking Spanish to one another as they set up the ladders and other equipment. This scenario is common enough. You’ve just unknowingly hired a bunch of undocumented workers. The reason why the roofer you spoke to wanted the money in cash is so he can pay his crew under the table, thereby avoiding IRS scrutiny. Should Businesses Hire Undocumented Workers? If you operate a business, you might feel like there are all kinds of things that you can do to pad your bottom line and help things run more smoothly. Depending on the company’s purpose, you might look into employing a remote workforce, setting up a robust intranet solution, going to an eCommerce business model, and so forth. What moves to make that will help you the most will depend on your niche and what options you have. Hiring undocumented workers is a fairly common practice in the United States. In the scenario we described, the roofing crew that comes to do the total tear-off might be from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, or a dozen other countries. Many different countries speak Spanish, and you often find undocumented workers representing any of them all over America. As a business owner, you’ll often find undocumented workers with particular skill sets who you can hire to do things like roofing, gardening, plumbing, electrical work, cooking, construction, housekeeping, and lots more. They’ll also probably do the work for less than an American because they want a chance to earn money to help support family members back in their home countries. Some Positives and Negatives The most obvious positive for your business if you hire undocumented workers is that they’ll do the work cheaper, thereby saving you money. Also, you might feel good that you’re helping individuals who badly need the cash. On the other hand, you’re doing something illegal. If the authorities catch you, your crew will probably face criminal charges if they can’t produce green cards. They can also issue fines or even try to shut down your company because you’re depriving the IRS of taxable money by paying your workers under the table. Aside from that, some Americans feel that undocumented workers should not be in the country illegally. They only want native-born Americans or immigrants with legal work visas to live and work here. What some of these individuals fail to acknowledge, though, is that many of the workers who are here illegally doing menial tasks are performing jobs that the average American doesn’t want. These jobs are typically very tough and physically demanding. It takes grit to get up at five in the morning to haul roofing shingles up and down a ladder for ten hours a day. What Should You Decide for Business Purposes? As a business owner, it’s your prerogative whether you choose to hire undocumented workers or not. You might feel like you don’t want to risk getting in trouble with the law, so you start looking for and trying to hire only documented workers or native-born citizens. If you do that, though, you might not find the workers that you need so easily. Even if you do, they might not gel and work together like some of these crews can. Some of these undocumented workers already know one another very well. They’re friends or relatives, and they’re excellent at working as a unit to finish a landscaping job or prepare a sumptuous meal. You’ll have to look at the cons and pros of hiring these individuals. In some parts of the country, particularly the Southwest, many establishments can’t function without undocumented workers. There are thousands of them, and the average business owner regards them as being indispensable.