By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog Writer
In an effort to stop the employment of unauthorized workers, Pennsylvania and New Jersey have introduced legislation for E-Verify, the web-based Employment Eligibility Verification System run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
E-Verify lets employers electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees by comparing information provided by employees on the Employment Eligibility Verification form – or Form I-9 – against records in the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) databases.
- HB 1502 would require all state contractors and subcontractors to verify the status of new employees with E-Verify.
- HB 1503 – the “Construction Industry Employment Verification Act” – would require all construction industry employers (regardless of whether there is any state contract or public funds) to confirm employment eligibility of new employees through E-Verify.
- In addition, employers relying in good faith on E-Verify would be immune from sanctions under the both proposed Pennsylvania bills.
Meanwhile, New Jersey is forwarding E-Verify legislation by introducing bills – S1842 and A2600 – that prohibit employment of unauthorized workers and require employers with 100 or more employees to verify the employment eligibility of all new employees with E-Verify by December 31, 2010. Smaller employers have until December 31, 2011.
- S1842 and A2600 call for statewide random auditing as well as complaint-driven investigations.
- S1842 and A2600 require that employers terminate unauthorized workers and the attorney general or county prosecutor shall notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as local law enforcement of any unauthorized aliens.
- Sanctions include penalties ranging from $100 to $1,000 per violation and loss of business licenses – possibly permanent revocation – depending upon the offense.
Along with the legislation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, many other states require or will require employers to participate in E-Verify in some manner. Some states – such as Arizona, Mississippi, and Utah – require all employers in the state to participate in E-Verify, while other states require only public or state employers or those contracting with the state to use E-Verify.
For more information about the legislation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey – and the increased worksite enforcement through Form I-9 audits – read the article “Pa., N.J. Move Forward With E-Verify; Will Feds Follow?” on The Legal Intelligencer.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a national background screening provider and authorized E-Verify Designated Agent – can help employers virtually eliminate I-9 form errors, improve the accuracy of their reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce. For more information about the E-Verify Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification system, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.
PA Bill House Bill 1502: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2009&sind=0&body=H&type=B&bn=1502
PA House Bill 1503: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfm?syear=2009&sind=0&body=H&type=B&bn=1503
NJ SENATE, No. 1842: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/S2000/1842_I1.PDF
NJ ASSEMBLY, No. 2600: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/A3000/2600_I1.PDF