The month of July will bring forth two notable changes to immigration compliance requirements: (i) Florida will require that all private employers with at least 25 employees use E-Verify as of July 1; and (ii) the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will end temporary flexibilities on July 31 that permitted certain employers to complete the Form I-9 remotely without inspection of the original documents. Employers–throughout the United States–must be aware of how mandatory E-Verify will or could impact their company and how the end of remote I-9 completion will impact its remote workforce.
Mandatory E-Verify in Florida
Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 1718 into law on May 10, with an effective date of July 1, 2023. The law expands mandatory use of E-Verify to all private employers with 25 or more employees. SB 1718 expands existing State law which requires the use of E-Verify by public employers, private employers which contract with public employers, and private employers which receive state incentives. The new law aligns Florida with other states with mandatory E-Verify requirements, including Utah, Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is an internet-based system that compares information entered by an employer from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, against records available to the US Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration to confirm employment eligibility. The program is additive to and does not replace the I-9 requirement. E-Verify is a meaningful tool that helps employers verify the work authorization of their workforce; it can also serve as evidence of good faith during government investigations relating to I-9 practices. However, employers must meet compliance requirements when using E-Verify, and noncompliance can result in fines and other civil penalties.
Requirements for private employers
The Florida law will require that all private employers with 25 or more employees register for E-Verify and utilize it for new employees hired on or after July 1, 2023. Each employer subject to the new law will be required to retain copies of the E-Verify documentation for at least three years, and will be required to verify compliance on its first return when making contributions to or reimbursing the state’s unemployment compensation or reemployment assistance program. Notably, employers who use E-Verify–whether required or not–will create a rebuttable presumption that they have not knowingly employed an unauthorized worker.Continue Reading Mandatory E-Verify in Florida and the End of I-9 Flexibility for Remote Workers: Major Changes to Immigration Compliance Landscape on the Horizon