Thursday, January 24, 2013

2013 E-Verify State Legislation Update

The beginning of the year saw three additional states enacting mandatory participation in the Federal government’s E-Verify program for employers of a certain size.  As of January 1, 2013, the three states, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee now require certain employers and/or public contractors and subcontractors to enroll in the E-Verify program to verify the work eligibility status of their employees.

North Carolina:  House Bill 36 requires counties, cities and employers to use the E-Verify program for work authorization of every newly hired employee and requires private employers to complete and maintain federal employment eligibility verification forms.  The initial phase of the legislation began on October 1, 2012, requiring private companies with five hundred or more employees to enroll in E-Verify.  As of January 1, 2013, employers with one hundred or more employees are now required to participate in E-Verify or are subject to a three-tiered violation system, starting with a signed sworn affidavit for the first violation and potentially leading to a $2,000 civil penalty fine for each employee the employer fails to authorize.

Pennsylvania:  Senate Bill 637, enacted on July 5, 2012, requires all public works contractors and subcontractors to participate in the E-Verify program.  The bill establishes a good faith immunity for employers following the program guidelines, but employers failing to comply with the legislation may potentially lose their license or permit for 180 days to one year if they receive a third violation.

Tennessee:  House Bill 1378, which began being phased in on January 1, 2012, prohibits an employer from knowingly hiring unauthorized workers as well as requiring all state and local government employers to enroll in E-Verify.  As of January 1, 2013, all employers who currently employ at least 6 employees are required to verify the work eligibility of every employee.  Furthermore, employers will have to maintain records for three years after the initial date of hire for each employee and for one year after an employee is terminated.

There are currently twenty states requiring a form of E-Verify participation by employers, contractors and subcontractors, stay informed by Contacting Us for more information on the state requirements for your company.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Oregon Homecare Provider's E-Verify Mistake Proves Costly

An Oregon homecare provider has reached an agreement, according to the Oregon Business Report, with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) based on claims that the employer violated the discrimination agreement contained within the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  While Oregon isn’t included in the twenty states currently requiring employment authorization through E-Verify, the homecare service provider is participating in the Federal government's program by entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Deparment of Homeland Security.

The violation began when the employer received a “Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC)” notice for one of their employees, whose documents failed to match the data on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and/or Social Security Administration’s records, which required immediate action by the Oregon employer.  The employer failed to inform the employee of the TNC, mandated by USCIS, which would’ve allowed the individual the ability to contest the mismatched information.  Furthermore, the employer violated the INA by requiring the employee to produce additional documents, either an alien card or naturalization documents, to show proof of work eligibility within the United States as well as denying the employee the right to work while contesting the TNC.  In addition to these requirements, “employers participating in E-Verify are also required to display a participation poster, identify company representatives to be responsible for and a point of contact regarding E-Verify, ensure that the representatives are familiar with E-Verify manuals and procedures, and cooperate with investigations by DHS and SSA,” as specified in the article. As a result, the settlement required the Oregon homecare provider to pay a $1,210 fine for the violations, $525 in back wages to the employee and enter into an eighteen month observation period administered by the Justice Department.

Learn more about the benefits of E-Verify by calling (949) 640-4949 to speak with one of our subject-matter experts, or visit our Solutions page to find out how our E-Verify system will benefit your company.  

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Key Figures in America's Immigration Enforcement

As immigration reform is set to take precedent for President Obama and his administration for 2013, figures are becoming available about the effort and cost for the nation's immigration enforcement agencies.  The recent release by the Migration Policy Institute, entitled "Immigration Enforcement in the United States: The Rise of a Formidable Machinery", offers important insights into key statistical figures.

The report also details statistics regarding the number of Border Patrol agents, total spending for FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives combined, as well as statistics on the number of immigrants being detained and tried in federal cases.  The report in full can be read here.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

DHS Provides Relief for Separated Immigrant Families

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have set forth the final ruling for the Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver as announced by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano yesterday.  The original ruling was published on April 2, 2012 which quickly received more than 4,000 comments, all of which were taken into serious consideration while developing the final ruling.  Secretary Napolitano was quoted saying, “This final rule facilitates the legal immigration process and reduces the amount of time that U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives who are in the process of obtaining an immigrant visa.”

The final ruling from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implements the “proposed rule to amend its regulations to allow certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who are physically present in the United States to request provisional unlawful presence waivers prior to departing from the United States.”  One of the most significant benefits of the ruling is the amount of time U.S. citizens will spend separated from their immediate relatives will be greatly reduced.

In order to comply with the consular immigrant visa process, the immediate relatives will still have to depart from the United States but will be able to now apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver prior to leaving.  The applicant will still be required to participate in their immigrant visa interview abroad as well as notify the Department of State’s National Visa Center, stating they are seeking a provisional waiver from USCIS.  The final ruling aims to help those currently affected by the process in addition to having “a significant impact on America families by greatly reducing the time family members are separated from those they rely upon,” as stated by USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

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