Current Updates Related to Immigration & State Laws That Could Affect Staffing Businesses

Current Updates Related to Immigration & State Laws That Could Affect Staffing Businesses

On August 15, 2011 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced E-Verify Self Check is now available in a Spanish-Language version and now accessible to residents in 16 additional states. E-Verify Self Check is a voluntary, fast, free and secure online service that allows U.S. workers to check their employment eligibility and/or data inaccuracies. Now available in 21 states and USCIS will continue to evaluate and improve the Self Check service, which intends to expand nationwide by spring 2012.

Currently Available to Residents in the Following States:

Arizona Missouri
California Nebraska
Colorado Nevada
District of Columbia New Jersey
Idaho New York
Louisiana Ohio
Maine South Carolina
Maryland Texas
Massachusetts Utah
Minnesota Virginia
Mississippi Washington

Federal Action on Immigration:

H.R. 2164 Legal Workforce Act

On June 14, 2011, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced H.R. 2164, The Legal Workforce Act,
which would create a new employment verification system, the Employment Eligibility
Verification System (EEVS), mandating compliance for nationwide within 2 years.

Some of the specifics for this Act:

  • E-Verify mandatory for all businesses, will have a 2 year phase in. Beginning six months after enactment, employer participation is phased in from large to small employers (including those with one employee). Entities that recruit and refer must use the system 12 months after enactment.
  • Prescreening of employment eligibility. Unlike current law, which requires employers to use E-Verify after hire, the Legal Workforce Act allows employers use the EEVS before hire.
  • Reverification of current workers' employment eligibility. Reverification of the current workforce is required for critical infrastructure employers; workers assigned to a federal or state contract; federal, state and local government employees; and workers with expiring employment authorization.
  • Limits documents to prove employment eligibility and identity. Makes many documents currently accepted to prove employment eligibility and identity no longer acceptable.
  • Employer Safe Harbors
  • State Preemption. Preempts states and localities from passing employer sanctions and employment eligibility verification laws, but allows states to use businesses licensing and similar laws to penalize employers for not using the EEVS

Accountability through Electronic Verification Act (S.1196)

Also introduced on June 14, 2011 in the U.S. Senate by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), this bill mandates the use of an electronic eligibility verification system (EEVS) by every employer in the U.S.
  • Mandatory after one year for all employers - One year after the bill is enacted all U.S. employers would be required to use an E-Verify-type EEVS to verify employment eligibility.
  • Allows the Secretary to require "critical employers" to use it immediately.
  • Allows employers to use E-Verify before a person is hired, if the applicant consents
  • Reduces the liability that employers face if they participate in E-Verify when it involves the wrongful termination of an individual.
  • Reverification of existing employees - The bill would require re-verification of the existing workforce's employment eligibility within 3 years of enactment.
Senate Bill Summary

Recent State Action:

  • Alabama Mandatory E-Verify & Immigration Act signed into law June 9, 2011. All Alabama employers, both public and private, must begin using E-Verify when hiring new employees no later than April 2012. Alabama's law is similar to an Arizona law requiring employers to use E-Verify, which the U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld.
  • GA Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 takes effect July 1, 2011: Georgia law will require all employers with more than ten employees to verify the work eligibility of new employees with E-Verify. The GA law phases-in between January 1, 2012 for employers with 500 or more employees and July 1, 2013 for employers with 11 or more employees.
  • Tennessee Lawful Employment Act (SB 1669, HB 1378), signed June 7, 2011: Tennessee recently enacted an E-Verify mandate on government entities and private employers. Similar to GA law, the TN will phase-in implementation between January 1, 2012 and January 1, 2013 depending on employer size. Governmental entities and private employers with at least 500 employees must comply with the law beginning January 1, 2012. Private employers with 200-499 employees must comply beginning July 1, 2012. Any employer with 5-199 employees must comply beginning January 1, 2013. (
  • Louisiana Passes E-Verify Bills Covering State Contractors and Private Employers, July 8, 2011: Louisiana Governor signed two pieces of legislation into law that will require or encourage businesses to use E-Verify. HB342 requires all state and local contractors to use E-Verify, while HB646 requires all private businesses to verify the legal status of their new hires by providing employers that use it a safe harbor against sanctions.

Current states requiring all employers to use E-Verify:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Mississippi
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah

Other State Issues/Concerns

Oregon Senate Bill 610 aims to regulate staffing firms - SB 610 would mandate an additional 30 percent surcharge on the wages of each temporary employee payable in wages or benefits. The bill would bar fees charged to clients of temp agencies that cover temp-to-hire placements, costs of training and prohibit all charges for providing transportation or cashing checks.
Massachusetts House Bill 139, sometimes referred to as the Reform the Employment Agency Law (REAL) or the Temp Workers' Right to Know bill, would largely prohibit staffing firms from charging placement and conversion fees for certain workers, require providing temporary workers with information on temp assignments, potentially require staffing firms placing workers in Massachusetts to have in-state offices, and potentially prohibit staffing firms from sending candidate resumes to clients.