Q. My company has about 80 employees spread among four stores in Charlotte and upstate South Carolina. Business is rebounding, and we expect 10 to 15 new hires in the next few months. Proposed changes in immigration laws are often in the news. Is there anything new I should know?
A. Not, as yet, in North Carolina, but there are bills pending before the General Assembly that merit close attention (see “North Carolina Legislature considers new employment laws”).
However, your South Carolina operations are subject to the recently enacted South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act. For employers with 100 or more employees, the provisions of this act went into effect on July 1. For smaller employers, including your company, the act goes into effect July 1, 2010.
Thereafter, you will be required to screen all new hires through the federal E-Verify program to determine whether they are eligible to work in the United States. The act provides an alternative to using the E-Verify program, which involves scrutiny of a South Carolina-issued driver’s license.
I would not advise using this alternative, as it may run afoul of “document abuse” regulations governing the still-required federal immigration Form I-9. Information on the federal E-Verify program is available at www.uscis.gov.
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