SC Illegal Immigration Reform Act – How Does it Affect Your Small Business?

June 8, 2010

Text Summary:

Signed into law on June 4, 2008 by Governor Mark Sanford, the South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act (“SC Immigration Act”) began on July 1, 2009 for private employers with 100 or more employees. All businesses that have employees – even as few as one – must begin to abide by the provisions of the act by July 1, 2010.

The SC Immigration Act, requires all employers to obtain an employment license that will allow that business to hire employees. If an employer does not obtain a license or if the employers license is suspended or revoked due to violations of the act, that employer will not be allowed to employ and employees.

Employers are also required to do one of the following within five (5) days of employing a new hire: (1) verify the employee’s work authorization through the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify federal work authorization program (this is in addition to the completion of a Federal Form I-9) or (2) verify that the employee possesses a valid South Carolina driver’s license or identification card issued by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles; is eligible to obtain a South Carolina driver’s license/identification card; or possesses a valid driver’s license/identification card from another state from a list approved by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.

To insure compliance with the SC Immigration Act, the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation will perform audits of employers. It will also investigate complaints against employers. In addition for being required to notify Federal and State agencies responsible for the enforcement of immigration law, there are stiff monetary penalties for failure to abide by the provisions of the law. If an employer fails to follow proper procedures for verifying worker eligibility, they will be fined a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $1,000 – per employee. If you are a small business who cycles through a fairly large amount of workers, this could become quite costly. If an employer knowingly or intentionally employs an illegal alien may get his license suspended or revoked. During the period that the license is suspended or revoked, the employer is not allowed to employ any employees. As you can see, this law can quickly put you out of business if you fail to abide by its provisions.