More States Enact Mandatory E-verify Legislation

A growing number of States recently passed legislation regarding the use of employment eligibility verification. At least six States passed new employment-related immigration bills including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, State Legislators introduced 279 employment-related immigration measures during the first quarter of 2011. The surge in employment eligibility legislation has created a sense of ambiguity for employers attempting to navigate through changes and maintain compliance.

What is E-verify

Employment Eligibility Verification (E-Verify) is a web-based system operated by the Federal government that allows participating employers to verify electronically the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees. E-Verify is operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) via the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. On June 14, 2011, Congress introduced the Workforce Act of 2011 (H.R. 2164), which  requires all employers to use E-verify and disregard I-9 immigration status reform.  Until there is a comprehensive Federal Immigration law enacted, State legislation governs compliance.

Best Practice Solutions

Federal Law mandates the use of E-Verify is voluntary but most State Immigration bills require Public employers and State contractors to use E- verify to confirm employment status. States including Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina made E-verify a mandatory procedure for all employers. To maintain compliance, employers should use Best Practices including:

  • Research State Immigration Legislation for all states in which you operate business.
  • Employers that contract with states or municipalities should use E-verify as evidence of compliance with Federal Immigration Legislation.
  • Check the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services website:www.uscis.gov for new developments and changes.
  • Employers should display E-Verify Participation Posters in their workplace to inform the employees of their legal rights and protections.
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