South Carolina employees have been warned by the State’s Department of Labor that they must utilize E-Verify to check employees’ work-authorization status or face immediate penalties under South Carolina’s “Illegal Immigration and Reform Act.” Jim Knight of South Carolina’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the state agency overseeing immigration compliance, stated: “There is no free bite at the apple after July 1.” The statute has a 6-month grace period before
the penalties are enforced.
This signals the end of a grace period designed to enable employers to sign up for E-Verify. The requirement that South Carolina-based employers verify workers’ employment eligibility through E-Verify began with the state’s 2008 immigration law and first went into effect in July 2010.
Governor Nikki Haley signed Amendments to the “South Carolina Illegal Immigration and Reform Act” on June 27, 2011, which set the effective date as January 1, 2012. Between January 1, 2012 and June 30, 2012, employers who were found to be out of compliance received warnings for a first
Under the new enforcement scheme, however, a first violation carries a one-year probation requiring businesses to submit quarterly reports to the state’s Department of Labor and a place on the agency’s website for six months. A second violation within three years requires the business to be shut down between 10 days and 30 days through the temporary suspension of their operating
licenses. Plus, the employer will be permanently featured online. In addition, an agency determination that an employer knowingly hired an illegal immigrant and failed to use E-Verify raises the penalty from an automatic, temporary suspension and $1,000 fine to a potential permanent shutdown through the revocation of all business licenses.
If you operate a business in South Carolina, you must comply with the E-Verify law. If your company is new to E-Verify, you should consult with an immigration compliance attorney.
Bruce E. Buchanan is an attorney at the at Nashville Office of Siskind Susser, P.C. He represents individuals and employers in all aspects of immigration law, with an emphasis on immigration compliance for employers, and employment/labor law. Mr. Buchanan received his law degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1982 and a B.S. degree from Florida State University, where he graduated magna cum laude. Mr. Buchanan has been in private practice since 2003. Beforehand, he served as Senior Trial Specialist for the National Labor Relations Board for 20 years. He also served from 1991 to 2003 as Adjunct Professor at William H. Bowen UALR School of Law, where he taught courses in Labor Law and Employment Law. Mr. Buchanan was chair of the Tennessee Bar Association's Immigration Law Section from 2011 to 2012 and has been the editor of the TBA's Immigration Law Section Newsletter and the TBA's Labor and Employment Law Section Newsletter since 2009. Mr. Buchanan is a frequent writer and speaker on immigration compliance as well as labor law, wage & hour law and proposed federal legislation. He is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and serves as the Advocacy Liaison of the Mid-South Chapter of AILA. Mr. Buchanan also serves on the Board of Directors for the Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) and is an associate member of the Mid-Tennessee Chapter of the Associated Builders & Contractors. Mr. Buchanan is admitted to practice in Tennessee, Florida, and Arkansas, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and D.C. Circuits and the U.S. District Courts for the Middle District of Tennessee and the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas.