Illegal Immigrant & Partnership Licensing

Who is and who isn’t a ‘real’ American citizen is one of the top issues of our day. As a nation largely founded by immigrants how we share our freedom with people who dream of coming here, legally or not, is not easy to answer. We often need people for many jobs our citizens can’t fill or don’t want. Contractors often find themselves confronting these issues and questions of citizenship as they hire laborers. Is a non-citizen, here illegally, able to become a licensed California contractor? Does becoming a corporation give new life to your old license?…

Q: It has come to my attention that The Contractors State Licensing Board approved a man who is not even in the states legally. This is a real problem for me because I am a legal citizen with my contractor’s license who is fighting the economic recession. I can¹t understand how this can happen. He was deported for the third time and now is back in the states, and still his California license is valid. I would like input on how this could possibly happen?

A: According to the CSLB, “Licensing Boards do not have citizenship or residency requirements for applicants, but do require every applicant to supply his/her Social Security number for tax and family support purposes. In addition, the Contractors Board requires all applicants to undergo fingerprinting and criminal background checks.”

I was advised that you could submit a complaint to CSLB’s Enforcement Division for investigation to determine if the licensee has violated any laws under the Board’s purview.

I also ran your question by an industry leader who pointed out that there is a fundamental question of fairness to those in our industry who try to practice their trade and follow the rules of the game. The other side of the issue is whether driving undocumented immigrants, including undocumented business owners, back underground is the right thing to do.

He also rightly and astutely pointed out that “It would be a far better world if we had a rational immigration policy in this country”.

Q: We are a General Partnership looking to change our entity to an S-Corp and need to know how to change our contractor’s license and how long the process takes. Can we change to S-Corp and operate on our old license while the paperwork is going through or do we need to wait to get our new license before switching the business structure? Also, will we be able to keep our same license number? Thank you for your attention to this matter.

A: To change your licensing from a partnership to a corporation, you must complete a new Application for Original Contractors License. I would strongly recommend waiting until your new corporate license is issued before doing any work or signing a contract under this new entity. Unfortunately, you cannot transfer your current partnership number to a corporation under any circumstances.

Assuming there are no problems with Live Scan fingerprinting and the same qualifier is used for the new license, you should have a number in hand within 4-5 weeks.