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Agency requests passport copy?!
Thread poster: Ben Dooley

Ben Dooley
Local time: 22:59
Japanese to English
Aug 8, 2006

Is this even approaching normal? Before they can give me work, they claim to need a copy of my passport. Has anyone else ever encountered this?

I certainly plan on saying no, but before I do, I just want to make sure that this is as suspect as I think.

Best,
Ben


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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:59
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
No, it's not, where I live Aug 8, 2006

But before you refuse outright, just ask why, out of curiosity. I see you are in Japan. Is this a Japanese agency? Could there be some bureaucratic issue?

Angela


Ben wrote:

Is this even approaching normal? Before they can give me work, they claim to need a copy of my passport. Has anyone else ever encountered this?

I certainly plan on saying no, but before I do, I just want to make sure that this is as suspect as I think.

Best,
Ben


[Edited at 2006-08-08 07:32]


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 04:59
French to Dutch
+ ...
No, it's not Aug 8, 2006

There must be other ways to prove that you are a citizen of the country where you live and that you pay taxes.

Just google with "identity theft" and you'll see why it's dangerous, especially in the States.


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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:59
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
I don't think Ben is a citizen of where he lives Aug 8, 2006

and that might be the reasoning behind the request, but as you say, there are other ways to prove who and what he is. A degree certificate, for instance, or a letter from your consul.
Angela

NMR wrote:

There must be other ways to prove that you are a citizen of the country where you live and that you pay taxes.

Just google with "identity theft" and you'll see why it's dangerous, especially in the States.


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B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:59
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
ID Security Aug 8, 2006

I've recently applied for a couple of agency jobs advertised on ProZ.com, where one had to e-mail the agency directly and register on their own on-line directory. I was a bit concerned that one of these agencies required my passport number. However, assumed that, as they were in France, it could be to do with legitimate money laundering controls, so I provided it.

Was this an OK thing to do? How much information is it OK for an agency to hold on an online directory? Incidentally, the Terms and Conditions of one of theagencies were written in English - badly -and were not terribly reassuring.

[Edited at 2006-08-08 12:15]


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 21:59
English to Russian
+ ...
No, it is not! Aug 8, 2006

Ben wrote:

Is this even approaching normal?


SSN#, just the number, not a card copy, is the beginning and the end of the requirements for the US. Moreover, they are NOT responsible for anybody's taxes as long as they properly report to IRS in accordance with the information provided. Just like CPA's are not responsible for the information you provide - they do not have to see the originals, and if you wish you can send them an Excel spreatsheet with the itemized totals that you calculated, they are only responsible for math errors and attributing the numbers to wrong sections in the report. Not everyone knows that.

If you do not have a US SSN#, they could not care less about how good a taxpayer you are in your own country as long as you do not reside in the US. The client will simply write your compensation off under "Labor costs" and attach your invoices and payment slips proving foreign residency. IRS does not report to foreign tax authorities.

Only when it comes to clearances, visas, things like that, clients or agencies on behalf of clients have a right to request full personall info. They way it is done leaves no doubts that the request is legitimate, you get to fill out official forms issued by the US government. Only government authorities have a right to request passport copies. BTW, probably as many as half of all Americans do not have passports at all:-)

Even corporation HRs do not require passports. Depending on the position they might ask if you have one (often the question will not even rise) but a passport is not a mandatory part of the package unless they plan to send you overseas tomorrow:-)


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Ben Dooley
Local time: 22:59
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Did seem strange Aug 8, 2006

Thanks for the replies.

It did seem strange. The only possible explanation I could think of was that they didn't want to hire illegals, but that seems ridiculous when you're dealing with a business that is conducted primarily over the Internet.

As for the Internet data bases, do you provide you SSN for those?
I've been asked when filling out online forms, but am leery of identity theft and decided only to provided it when contacted for work. Am I worrying too much?

Cheers,
Ben


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Olga Dubeshka  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:59
Russian to English
+ ...
not OK, but depends Aug 8, 2006

Ben, I have been hiring people in US for quite some time.
(I assume you are talking about US agency).
I am familiar with all US labor laws and requirements for
W-2.
In short, you need to prove to the employer that you are eligible to work in US. This is done by submitting :
1. SS # (you do not need to show the card)
2. Drivers license (valid) or birth certificate or passport (can be expired).
Different documents are required if you are a under 18 or if you have been in the army.

If you are NOT a citizen of US, but are authorized to work there, you only need to either show your employment authorization card (EAD) or green card (aka permanent resident card) .

This is universall in all US states. However, if the company that wants to hire you works for the government, or special clearance is required, they may request pretty much all they want, including background checks/credit reports and what not. MAybe, as Irene said before , they want to make sure you are able to travel internationally - so they need a copy of your passport. Ihave also heard of agencies trying to make sure (or proove to the client) that your native language is what it is they can use your passport as evidence.
IMHO, if they do not state clearly why they need the passport, you can ignore their request.


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xxxXX789  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:59
English to Dutch
+ ...
The Dutch Labour Relation Statement Aug 9, 2006

Dutch translators working for Dutch agencies *must* provide a passport copy. This is required by our tax laws (the Labour Relation Statement to be precise, an official statement from the tax office that tells the agency whether someone is a freelancer or a company - this is to prevent the agency needing to pay social insurance benefits for the freelancer if the tax office considers said freelancer as an employee of said agency, which sometimes happens if said agency is responsible for most of the work said freelancer gets).

Many agencies don't do it, but this is what the official rules say.

This doesn't apply to your situation of course, as you're not from Holland, but there's indeed a possibility the agency is merely doing what the law tells them to do.

[Edited at 2006-08-09 07:47]


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