Is Hiring Undocumented Laborers to Help with Moving a Good Idea?

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When looking for help with moving, hiring undocumented laborers might seem like an attractive idea when you consider how much money you’ll save over hiring professional movers or if you can’t get enough friends and family members to lend a hand. However, there are number of serious issues to consider before you decide to hire anyone standing in front of a hardware store:

No Legal Contract

Professional movers will offer a contract legally obligating them to handle your items with care or they’ll have to reimburse you for damage. While it’s true that your friends and family members who help with moving most likely won’t be under any kind of legal contract, you know them, you trust them—you know where they live. In other words, if somebody breaks something during the move, you can expect to be reimbursed somehow. You can trust that they won’t steal anything.

Undocumented laborers are strangers to you. They could be nice, hardworking people, but all it takes is one less-than-trustworthy person to ruin the experience. If undocumented laborers break or steal your things, you’ll have no way to get them to reimburse you or pay you back, particularly since hiring them in the first place isn’t entirely legal, so you may be loath to report the crime to the police.

Less Experienced

The undocumented laborers standing out front of hardware stores looking for work are typically “jacks of all trades.” They’ll take most any kind of work you offer them—and many are therefore not experts at any specific kind of work. While having them help with moving isn’t quite equal to having them reroute your plumbing, for example, there’s still such a thing as a method to effectively and safely moving your things. Professional movers know all of the tips to effectively packing, handling and transporting your items—and they’ll have the tools with which to do so on hand.

While friends and family may be even less experienced than undocumented workers, at least you’ll either be paying them far less or not paying them at all. If you’re paying for work from strangers, you should expect a certain amount of skill.

Issue of Legality and Humanitarianism

Technically, hiring undocumented laborers for anything is illegal. While you’re unlikely to face squads of police cars by hiring a few people off of the books to help with moving—after all, you’re free to “hire” friends and family to help and even reward them with cash—you’re encouraging an illegal practice and there’s always the chance you might come across an undercover sting.

Also, while it’s true that many of these workers are good people who could use the money to support their families, consider the fact that the reason you’re considering hiring them in the first place is because they provide cheap labor. You’d most likely by paying them wages far less equal to the work they’d be doing, which isn’t a very humanitarian act.

Hiring undocumented laborers to provide help with moving is generally a bad idea. Although they may be hardworking, honest people, you’ll have no legal recourse if they prove to be complete frauds. Plus, you’ll be treading the waters of illegality yourself just by hiring them.

One Response to “Is Hiring Undocumented Laborers to Help with Moving a Good Idea?”

  1. May 29, 2010 at 8:23 pm, kris said:

    I’ve *always* hired undocumented persons with my move (2 times in 5 yrs) and they have always been fantastic. I pay them more than I make! They get cash, and I buy them lunch/beverages. You can agree on a price before the work. I have not had a bad experience with them and they always work very, very hard and are nothing less than polite.


    with the new Arizona law, which is where I live, I don’t know if I’d feel comfortable doing this again as I’d be afraid we’d all be taken in if the police see me picking up workers.


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