Effective January 1, 2013, laws in the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee will require many private employers to register for and begin using the federal E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system.
E-Verify is a web-based program that compares information from the ‘Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification’ that employers must complete for all newly-hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the U.S. with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records.
While participation in E-Verify is still voluntary for many U.S. businesses, employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause must use the system.
The fact that E-Verify usage is also required by law in a growing list of states – including Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Utah – while only by certain specified employers in other states only adds to the already confusing and complex web of regulations for employers to follow to maintain legal compliance.
New E-Verify laws that will take effect on January 1, 2013 include the following states:
- Georgia: In the final step for employers enrolling and utilizing E-Verify for Georgia House Bill 87 (HB 87) ‘Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011’, companies or organizations with 11 to 99 employees must use the program for all job applicants before July 1, 2013. Larger companies with 100 or more employees have already been subjected to HB 87, while companies with 10 employees or less are exempt..
- North Carolina: The North Carolina General Assembly passed Senate Bill 32 (SB 32), “An Act To Require Counties, Cities, And Employers To Use The Federal E-Verify Program To Verify The Work Authorization Of Newly Hired Employees,” requiring private businesses employing more than 100 people and fewer than 500 people to register for and begin using the E-Verify system on January 1, 2013. Employers with 25 or more employees will be required to use E-Verify to check work authorization for all new hires beginning on July 1, 2013.
- Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Act No. 127 (formerly Senate Bill 637), The Public Works Employment Verification Act requires all public works contractors and subcontractors with the state to enroll in and use E-Verify for newly hired employees beginning January 1, 2013 – but only if the project is worth $25,000 or more.
- Tennessee: The Tennessee Lawful Employment Act (TLEA) passed in 2012 requires employers in the state to show they are hiring and maintaining a legal workforce either by enrolling in and using the E-Verify program or requesting all newly hired employees and to provide certain authorization documents. The TLEA begins its final phase as companies employing more than 5 persons must register and begin using E-Verify by January 1, 2013. The amendment is Public Chapter No. 436.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 made it unlawful for an employer “to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien.” Federal law requires every employer hiring an individual for employment in the U.S. to verify his or her identity and employment authorization through completion of a Form I-9.
In an attempt to improve the employment eligibility verification process, the U.S. Congress created a pilot program in 1996 that went national in 2003 and was expanded and renamed E-Verify in 2007.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – the government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States as part of the DHS – 1.2 million worksites currently use E-Verify, a program administered by the USCIC in partnership with the SSA. For more information, visit: www.dhs.gov/e-verify.