A new North Carolina state law soon will require use of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) E-Verify system to check if workers are legally entitled to work in the United States.
Under the new law, signed by Governor Bev Perdue on June 23, all employers in North Carolina that employ 25 or more workers eventually will be required to use the system. The new law will take effect at different times based on an employer’s size and type:
- the requirement becomes effective for county and municipal employers on October 1, 2011;
- employers with 500 or more employees must start using the system on October 1, 2012;
- employers with 100 to 499 employees will have to use the system on January 1, 2013; and
- employers with 25 to 99 employees will have to use it on July 1, 2013.
Covered employers will be required, after properly completing an I-9 form, to enter employee identity and work status data electronically with E-Verify.
“Employees” do not include seasonal temporary workers who are employed for 90 days or less during a consecutive 12-month period.
The new law expands the state’s existing law, which required state agencies, including public universities and community colleges, to use of the E-Verify system for the last five years.
Complaints about violations of the new law may be filed with the North Carolina Department of Labor. Civil penalties include fines of $10,000 for an employer’s first failure to file an affidavit of compliance and additional penalties for each subsequent employee verification an employer fails to make.
North Carolina isn’t alone in adopting or expanding E-Verify mandates. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 17 states now have some form of E-Verify requirement.
Although the accuracy of the E-Verify system was challenged early in its use, a December 2010 U.S. Government Accountability Office study found that USCIS had substantially improved the accuracy of the system. USCIS reports that it continues to incorporate tools to combat increasingly sophisticated forms of document and identity fraud.
To participate in E-Verify, an employer must register online at the USCIS E-Verify website and accept the memorandum of understanding that details the responsibilities of the Social Security Administration, USCIS, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the employer.