Recently numerous state legislatures, the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress have weighed in on the extent of companies’ obligations to verify the immigration status of job applicants. As a result, employers are becoming increasingly nervous. It seems that a new state law is coming out almost every day. Employers are left with the questions “What are we supposed to do?’”
There were 279 employment-related immigration measures introduced in 44 state legislatures during the first quarter of 2011, according to a report released May 23, 2011, by the National Conference of State Legislatures. These bills usually require public employers and state contractors, and, in some cases, private employers as well, to check whether new hires are eligible to work in the United States, generally by using E-Verify, the federal government’s electronic verification system. Most of the bills establish penalties for businesses that employ unauthorized immigrants.
E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility. Of course, we’re all aware that illegal immigrants come to the United States seeking job opportunities; however there is a right way to do this (seeking work related Visas/permits) and an illegal way (coming into this country illegally as undocumented workers). The Federal Government has many concerns related to protecting American workers rights, the reporting and subsequent collection of employment taxes, and the general protection and welfare of our country. E-Verify is a significant step that the Department of Homeland Security has taken to ensure that companies follow the law and employ a legal workforce.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is working to stop unauthorized employment. By using E-Verify to determine the employment eligibility of their employees, companies become part of the solution in addressing this problem.
Hundreds of thousands of employers, large and small, across the United States use E-Verify to check the employment eligibility of their employees, with about 1,200 new businesses signing up every week While participation in E-Verify has been a voluntary decision or process on the part of employers, increasingly States are making the use of E-Verify a requirement to do business (as an employer) within their States. States where employers are already required by state law or federal regulation to use E-Verify when hiring new employees within their state are: Arizona, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Other states, such as Alabama have passed State Bills to enact the same requirement. E-Verify is also mandatory for employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation E-Verify clause.
Employers should try to keep on top of requirements for each state and to make sure that they are complying with state laws. In addition, employers need to be aware that state laws can require E-Verify only for new hires. Expect more States in the very near future to adopt E-Verify as a new hire requirement for employers in their states.
For more information on E-Verify and other Federal or State employer regulations or requirements that impact your business contact your Human Resources Consultant, legal counsel, or your PEO Representative. You can contact the LL Roberts Group about how a PEO can assist you to be incompliance with governmental regulations by calling (toll free) 877.878.6463.