Businesses in Beaufort and Jasper counties have one last chance before facing penalties to meet requirements of a new South Carolina employment law designed to combat illegal immigration.
A representative from the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation will be in Beaufort and Jasper counties May 8 and 9 to assist employers in enrolling in E-Verify.
The free, Internet-based E-Verify system is maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to confirm the legal status of newly hired workers. The system compares information an employee provides against government records maintained by Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.
Beginning this year, the law requires every employer to enroll in E-Verify and check the employment eligibility status of new employees.
The state has been conducting random audits of employers to determine compliance. Through June 30, businesses found to have hired an employee without using E-Verify will not face penalties if they promise in writing to verify the status of all future hires.
However, beginning July 1, if the state finds that a business hasn't verified employment eligibility, it be put on probation for a year. During that time, the business must submit quarterly reports to the state demonstrating compliance with the law. Businesses could be shut down for 10 to 30 days for subsequent violations within three years of the first violation.
"Department officials have been traveling to every county in the state offering another opportunity for employers to hear about E-Verify and know how to use the system," state labor department spokesman Jim Knight said. "This one last effort to educate employers before we move into the penalty mode on July 1."
State labor department representatives will be available at the following times and places:
Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead.