The Hidden Cost of Undocumented Workers


Increased workers’ compensation risks.

Heightened risk of workplace injury.

Language barriers leading to safety concerns.

Think you’re immune to these risks of hiring or “using” unauthorized workers?

In fact, no employer is invulnerable. Unauthorized immigrants may be applying to your jobs as you read this post – or they may already be a part of your workforce. And they’re tougher to identify than you might think. Just because a candidate has lived here for several years doesn’t mean they’re a U.S. citizen. According to Pew Research Center:

  • Our workforce includes 8 million unauthorized immigrants, accounting for 5% of those who were working or were unemployed and looking for work.
  • A rising share of unauthorized immigrants have lived in the U.S. for at least a decade. About two-thirds (66%) of adults in 2014 had been in the U.S. at least that long.

Obviously, employing unauthorized workers can lead to hefty fines and costly litigation. But there are also other, less obvious risks to your organization. Here are just some of the hidden costs and risks associated with employing undocumented workers:

  • Foreign-born workers are at high risk for injury or death on the job. According to data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
    • The number of fatally-injured workers born in Mexico rose 22 percent in 2015 to 415 cases from 340 in 2014.
    • Overall, fatal injuries involving foreign-born workers were at the highest level since 2007.
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has broadened its priorities, targeting anyone who has “engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency.” The results? Injured unauthorized workers are now even more likely to be “found out,” because medical facilities and state workers’ comp bureaus typically request Social Security numbers as part of the claims process.
  • Language barriers and fear of prosecution make undocumented workers less likely to report dangerous work conditions they encounter on the job. Hazards may never be reported, further compounding your risks.

What’s the best way to protect your organization when engaging temporary employees?


In our earlier post, “How to Protect Your Company from Undocumented Worker Fines,” PrideStaff provides recommendations for reducing your risks when working with a staffing firm.

Concerned you may have undocumented temporary or direct workers?


Contact your local PrideStaff office today. We’ll create a strategy to help you maintain production levels while transitioning to a safe, fully compliant workforce.