TAMPA, Fla. – Two contracting companies and a specialty gourmet food retailer are the latest employers to be certified with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) employment compliance program, IMAGE, or "ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers."
Gravity-Ratterman LLC, Ramcon LLC and Pelican Bay Ltd. have pledged and been officially certified by ICE to protect the integrity of their workforce. The certification was marked by a ceremony April 3 at ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office in Tampa. IMAGE is a voluntary program that helps employers comply with the law by equipping them with the knowledge and tools needed to ensure a legal, authorized workforce.
"According to federal law, employers are responsible for hiring a workforce that is legally permitted to work here," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. "Today, Gravity-Ratterman LLC, Ramcon LLC and Pelican Bay Ltd. demonstrated their commitment to hiring individuals who are legally permitted to work in the United States."
Gravity-Ratterman LLC is headquartered in Tampa and employs 60 people. The company erects heavy timber, light-gauge metal trusses and composite roof decking systems. It began operations in 2009.
Ramcon LLC is headquartered in Tampa and employs 150 people. The company is a full-service commercial, industrial and institutional roofing contractor. It began operations in 2003.
Pelican Bay Ltd. is headquartered in Dunedin and employs 62 people. It offers a wide range of baking and drink mixes, as well as seasonings and dips. It began operations in 1981.
With the addition of these three companies, 16 Florida companies with more than 17,200 employees participate in the IMAGE program. Tampa Electric Company, Avant Healthcare Professionals LLC, Naples Hilton, Cutrale Citrus Juices USA Inc., Florida Potato and Onion LLC, as well as the boards of commissioners for Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus County are some of the most recent employers to be certified by the IMAGE program.
Certified businesses pledge to maintain a secure and stable workforce and curtail the employment of unauthorized workers through outreach and education. To qualify for IMAGE certification, companies must perform the following requirements:
- Enroll in the E-Verify program within 60 days,
- Establish a written hiring and employment eligibility verification policy that includes internal Form I-9 audits at least once per year and
- Submit to a Form I-9 inspection.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) E-Verify employment eligibility verification program enables employers to verify that newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States. This Internet-based system is available throughout the nation and is free to employers. It provides an automated link to the Social Security Administration database and DHS immigration records.
Companies interested in more information about the IMAGE program can call 813-357-7137 or visit ICE.gov/image.