The Florida legislative assembly recently green-lighted Senate Bill (SB) 1718, which, should it receive gubernatorial approval, mandates that all private employers with a workforce of 25 or more employees and all public employers in the state of Florida employ the E-Verify system to confirm the employment eligibility of newly-hired personnel, effective as of the first of July in the year 2023. The bill was duly enrolled by the Florida Senate on the second day of May in the year 2023, and it is generally anticipated that Governor Ron DeSantis will sign it into law.
Provisions of the Bill
Companies that offer employee-leasing services and assign to their client companies the primary obligation of ensuring E-Verify compliance—either through a “written agreement or understanding”—will be exempt from the requirement to verify the eligibility of any new personnel that the client companies may choose to employ.
Governmental institutions must include a requirement in their contractual agreement that stipulates that contractors and sub-contractors must “register with and use the E-Verify system”. It is a necessary precondition for a contractor or sub-contractor to utilize the E-Verify system in order to enter into a contractual agreement with a public institution.
In the event that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) determines that an employer has not fulfilled its obligation to use the E-Verify system, the department will apprise the employer of their noncompliance, following which the employer will have a period of 30 days to rectify the situation. If the DEO determines that an employer has neglected to use the E-Verify system on three separate occasions within a 24-month span, the DEO may fine them $1,000 per diem until such time as they provide conclusive evidence of having remedied the noncompliance.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will be among the agencies responsible for enforcing compliance with the E-Verify law.
The Immigration Practice Group at Ogletree Deakins will keep tabs on the progression of SB 1718 and other amendments to state immigration policies, and will furnish updates on the Immigration blog once new information comes to light. Important facts and updates for employers are also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.