What Employers Need To Know About The Florida E-Verify Requirement

What Employers Need To Know About The Florida E-Verify Requirement

Among the most recent developments in Florida immigration laws, the governor signed requirements for employers regarding verification of employee immigration status. As an employer, it's crucial to understand these changes to ensure compliance and avoid potential penalties, which can mount quickly.

Starting July 1, 2024, employers who are out of compliance with the E-Verify requirements face fines and other potential penalties. You might consider this blog as a Public Service Announcement, outlining the key aspects of the law, the risks involved, and steps you can take to stay compliant.

Understanding the Florida Law

While employers must always be mindful of complying with federal employment law and immigration requirements, Florida has implemented additional requirements to tighten regulations surrounding the employment of non-citizens. The law includes stringent measures to verify the immigration status of employees and imposes severe penalties for non-compliance. Employers must now go through a specific procedure to ensure that all employees are legally authorized to work in the United States. Measures that are optional under federal law have been made mandatory under Florida law.

Specifically, employers with over 25 employees must participate in the E-Verify System operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to confirm each employee’s eligibility to work legally in the U.S. For new employees, keeping paper I-9 Forms is not sufficient to satisfy requirements at the state level.

Steps to Ensure Compliance

To avoid penalties and other negative consequences, it’s essential to take proactive steps to comply with the new law. Here’s what employers need to do:

  1. Implement E-Verify: Make sure your business is registered with the E-Verify system and that you use it to verify the employment eligibility of all new hires. Training your HR team on how to use E-Verify effectively is also crucial.

  2. Review Hiring Practices: Conduct a thorough review of your current hiring practices to ensure they align with the new regulations. This includes updating job application forms, employment contracts, and internal policies.

  3. Conduct Internal Audits: Regularly audit your employee records to ensure all workers have the proper documentation. Keep detailed records of your E-Verify checks and any other relevant paperwork.

  4. Train Your Staff: Ensure that all employees involved in the hiring process are fully aware of the new law and understand their responsibilities. Provide regular training sessions to keep everyone updated on any changes.

In Florida, employers risk penalties for violations of either state or federal immigration laws. Having an experienced immigration attorney regularly review procedures and documents on file can enable employers to correct deficiencies before they can cause problems.

The Risks of Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with Florida's new immigration law can result in severe consequences for employers. The risks include hefty fines, legal action, and damage to your business reputation. Employers who fail to adhere to the new requirements may face:

  • Substantial Fines: Non-compliant businesses can be fined a thousand dollars per day. Additional fines could apply for workers who are found to be unauthorized.

  • License Suspension: Businesses who fail to comply risk suspension or revocation of their licenses.

  • Legal Consequences: Employers may face lawsuits and other legal actions from both the state and federal government.

  • Business Disruptions: Audits and investigations can disrupt business operations and lead to negative publicity.

Penalties also apply to unauthorized workers who use false documents or other fraudulent means to gain employment.

Transitioning to Compliance

Employers have had nearly a year since the requirement took effect and soon penalties will apply to those out of compliance. It is important for employers who are not ready to create a comprehensive plan outlining the steps their businesses will take to comply with the new law. This plan should include timelines, responsibilities, and resources needed.

It can be helpful to consult an immigration lawyer to ensure you understand all aspects of the new law and how it applies to your business. An experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance and help you undergo any legal complexities. Working regularly with an immigration lawyer can also keep you informed about any further changes to immigration laws at both the state and federal levels. Legislative changes can occur frequently, and staying updated will help you remain compliant.

It is also important to keep your employees informed about the new law and how it affects them. Clear communication can help alleviate concerns and ensure everyone understands the importance of compliance.

Contact Us for Guidance and Support

Staying in compliance with Florida and federal immigration laws can be challenging, but the right legal assistance can take the worry out of the process. At The Gaston Law Firm, P.A., we are dedicated to helping employers understand and comply with immigration laws. If you need assistance or have any questions about the new regulations, we are here to help. We are committed to supporting businesses in achieving compliance. Call us at The Gaston Law Firm, P.A., today at 772-219-0101 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a dedicated immigration lawyer serving clients worldwide.