Florida has increased enforcement activity on companies not complying with state-mandated E-verify requirements. This requirement includes non-profit organizations and other private employers.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) recently demonstrated this enforcement by sending notices to six organizations. Of the contacted organizations, two are out-of-state. These notices stated that failure to reply by January 16th, 2023, would end in suspending their business licenses. This suspension would prevent the companies from operating in Florida.
In 2020, Florida’s Governor signed a bill that required private employers within the state to use the federal government’s E-Verify System. This system verifies a new hire’s identity and work authorization documents against databases administered by the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It also requires employees to provide documentation that the USCIS requires on the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9). In addition, employers must maintain records of this process for a minimum of three years after hiring an employer. The law went into effect on July 1st, 2021.
According to the DEO, these organizations received multiple notices from the state’s Department of Law Enforcement. This department oversees the state’s E-Verify system, to which the organizations have not responded. These notices require the organizations to provide a signed affidavit confirming that they comply with the law’s requirements.
In December 2022, the state’s DEO provided final notices to these companies. The directives instructed them to provide a signed affidavit confirming that they terminated all unauthorized aliens. In addition, they had to verify that they would not “intentionally or knowingly” employ any unauthorized workers in Florida.
Further, the organizations must affirm that they will comply with Florida Statutes Section 448.095(3)(b). This statute regulates the state’s employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9). Failure to respond to this final notice will end with the suspension of their business licenses, preventing them from doing business in Florida.
For all employers, it is crucial to maintain compliance with Form I-9 requirements. As this clearly illustrates, employers should prove particularly vigilant when conducting business in Florida. The most effective way to ensure compliance is through utilizing an electronic I-9 management tool with support for E-Verify integration. This tool can guarantee uniform compliance with regulatory requirements. In addition, it would provide access to safe and secure storage for forms and documentation.
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