SC Immigration Reform Act: Next Phase to Take Effect July 1
If you haven’t verified your employees’ legal status, then you have until July 1 to begin or you can be fined up to $1,000 per worker. Effective July 1, 2010, the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation will begin auditing businesses that employ 100 or less people. The audits will target businesses that traditionally hire foreign workers, such as landscapers, hotels, restaurants, golf courses and construction companies.
According to the S.C. Immigration Reform Act, which was passed by the Legislature in 2008, all new employees’ legal status must be verified with either the E-Verify system or requesting the employees’ driver’s license. The department has been auditing businesses that employ more than 100 people since July 2009. The purpose of the auditing and the law is to ensure S.C. businesses are employing legal immigrants.
Companies that break the law can be fined between $100 and $1,000 per employee and lose their business license. If a company is cited, it has every opportunity to correct the mistake(s) before a penalty is assessed. To comply with the new law, companies must verify new workers’ legal status through one of two ways:
1. By participating in the federal government’s E-Verify system, which electronically matches names and Social Security number.
2. By requesting a South Carolina driver’s license or a license issued by one of 26 other states on a list approved by the state.
Existing employees are not exempt. For employees on payroll before July 1, companies will be required to sign a statement indicating they do not willingly or knowingly employ illegal immigrants. If the statement is not signed, then auditors will conduct an investigation of the legal status of all employees.
Get your employee records in order today. Visit the South Carolina Office of Immigrant Worker Compliance page at http://www.llr.state.sc.us/immigration/.