If 2017 is any indication, the new year will bring a fresh cascade of changes – both announced and unannounced, anticipated and unanticipated – in the business immigration landscape. Few, if any, of these changes are expected to be good news for U.S. businesses and the foreign workers they employ.
Under a new California law that took effect on January 1, 2016, California employers may face civil penalties of up to $10,000 for misusing E-Verify, the federal electronic employment verification system some employers use to verify employment eligibility of newly hired employees.
The new E-Verify law makes it more difficult for some California employers to comply with both federal and state laws relating to workers’ employment eligibility.
Federal law requires employers to only employ individuals who are eligible to work in the United States. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in partnership with the U.S. Social Security Administration, has implemented an “E-Verify” system that allows participating employers to verify eligibility in a quick and cost-efficient manner. E-Verify is a free, federal database that compares information submitted by employees to Social Security and Homeland Security records. Employers who use E-Verify can quickly identify and reject persons who are ineligible to work in the United States. Once employers hire workers, they process their information through the E-Verify database. If the submitted records match, the new employees are eligible to work. If the records do not match, the database notifies the employers, who must then give the worker eight days to provide sufficient proof of eligibility.