Governor Nikki Haley signed several amendments to the South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act into law on June 27, 2011, and all South Carolina employers must use E-Verify for work authorization of all new hires effective January 1, 2012. Please note that it’s EBI’s understanding that the option of utilizing E-Verify for all new hires OR employing workers who possess a valid driver’s license or identification card issued by South Carolina or other state approved ID by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles has been removed from the original 2004 version of the law.
The state of South Carolina law requires private employers (any person or entity that either performs a service or sells a good) to possess a valid agency permit, certificate, approval, registration, charter, or similar form of authorization for the purpose of operating a business. Additionally, private employers are prohibited from employing a person unless its employment license and any other applicable licenses are current and valid. Therefore, employers should be aware of the consequences of violating the new guidelines, as the State Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation is now authorized to:
- Notify the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement of suspected unauthorized aliens employed by the private employer
- Notify state and local law enforcement agencies responsible for enforcing state immigration laws of the employment of suspected unauthorized aliens by the employer
- Place the employer on probation, during which time the employer will be required to submit quarterly reports demonstrating compliance
- Publish a list of all private employers who have had their licenses disciplined the list on the agency's website
- Suspend the private employer's license(s)
During the period of business license suspension, the private employer may not engage in business, open to the public, employ an employee, or otherwise operate. After the period of suspension, the private employer's licenses may only be reinstated after the employer: (a) demonstrates it has terminated the unauthorized alien, and (b) pays a reinstatement fee.
Public employers are also affected and may not enter into any agreement for the physical performance of any services with a Contractor unless: (a) the Contractor uses E-Verify to determine the employment authorization of all new employees, and (b) the Contractor also requires any Subcontractors to register and participate in the federal work authorization program. The private employer must also maintain the contact phone numbers of all subcontractors and sub-subcontractors and be prepared to provide this information to the State Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation within seventy-two hours upon request.
Finally, the law creates an Illegal Enforcement Unit within the Department of Public Safety for the purpose of enforcing federal and state immigration laws effective July 1, 2011, classifying both a person's unlawful entry into the U.S. and/or knowingly abetting another person's unlawful entry into the U.S. as felony offenses. The law also designates that the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce shall provide technical assistance to private employers.
Contact EBI today to learn more about EBI’s employment eligibility solutions. EBI offers electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions to employers. EBI is a proud supporter and an approved E-Verify Employer Agent for the Department of Homeland Security.
Employment Background Investigations, Inc. is committed to providing employers with valuable education, news and resources around background screening, drug testing, occupational healthcare and employment eligibility. All content provided by EBI is published for the convenience of its readers and should never be deemed as legal guidance or advice. Always consult your legal counsel for specific advice on local laws and industry regulations.
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