Florida’s Governor Signs Mandatory E-Verify Bill Into Law

Florida’s Governor Signs Mandatory E-Verify Bill Into Law
May 20, 2023

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has signed SB 1718 into law, amending E-Verify requirements. It would make sweeping changes to immigration laws and significantly impact private employers with 25 or more employees. Passed by the Florida Senate and House of Representatives over the previous month, it would enforce new employment eligibility verification requirements and penalties for noncompliance.

These regulations would begin July 1, 2023. It would require private employers with 25 or more workers to use the federal government’s E-Verify system. This system verifies the work authorization and identity of new workers. As a result, employers must sign up for the program to verify their employees’ employment eligibility.

Employers must perform the employment verification within three business days of the date a new employee begins working for pay. Employers subject to the new requirement must also certify on their annual returns that they comply with these regulations. This step requires them to demonstrate how they contribute to or reimburse the state’s unemployment compensation or reemployment assistance system. 

The new law will also employ the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO). The DEO will impose penalties on employers that knowingly recruit, hire, or refer individuals unauthorized to work. As such, the DEO may issue the following civil penalties:

  • Require the repayment of economic development incentives;
  • Place the employer on one-year probation with the requirement that they report quarterly to demonstrate compliance with the statute;
  • Revoke or suspend issued business licenses when a violation occurs within 24 months of a previous violation. This suspension pertains to licenses from licensing agencies subject to Florida Statutes Chapter 120;
  • A fine of $1,000 per day when the DEO determines that an employer failed to use the E-Verify system three times within 24 months; the employer must provide proof of compliance to stop the fines.

Employers utilizing the E-Verify system will benefit from a rebuttable presumption of not knowingly employing unauthorized workers. Employers must still complete Form I-9 for new hires regardless of whether the E-Verify system goes down for three or more days. They may retain the rebuttable presumption by taking screenshots or providing documentation proving that the E-Verify system went down for the given period.

Compliance has become more challenging for many employers as E-Verify requirements like this are gaining popularity nationwide. TAs such, investing in an electronic I-9 management system with E-Verify integration will help employers ensure compliance. This tool can guide employers through the process. It provides an accurate and uniformly completed employment eligibility verification process.

Automate your employment eligibility verification today with the ensured compliance of I-9 Compliance.