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Florida Imposes Even Stricter E-Verify Requirements For Private Employers


In May 2023, Florida’s governor signed a strict crackdown explicitly intended to ‘scare’ undocumented immigrants out of settling in the state. The law voided out-of-state driver’s licenses without proof of citizenship, prevented any state municipality from using government funds to obtain IDs for undocumented immigrants, and made several other changes designed to make life more difficult for the undocumented in the state. However, it also introduced additional responsibilities for business owners, in the form of requiring the use of E-Verify for all new hires.

Can Affect The Flow Of Work & Workers

The federal E-Verify system was implemented in 1997 as the Basic Pilot Program, with the intent of protecting jobs for U.S. citizen workers. All federal contractors and vendors have been required to use it since 2007, but in most situations, private enterprises are not required to make use of it (unless directed to by a state directive like that signed in Florida). Florida has required ‘most’ employers to use the program since 2015, but enforcement was haphazard, and its use was concentrated on those believed to be immigrants.

Studies have shown that the use of E-Verify does not affect the labor market outcomes of non-Hispanic white Americans, but it does tangibly affect the flow of undocumented immigration – which is the stated aim of Florida Republicans. That said, it has also been shown to tangibly affect business owners as well, who have historically engaged undocumented immigrants and faced few penalties for doing so.

Potential Fines For Employers

The new statute requires that all private employers in Florida with more than 25 employees must use E-Verify to certify employees’ eligibility to work if they have been hired after July 1, 2023. The employees must all perform some kind of service in Florida for the law to apply; still, confusion over the finer points of the mandate persist for many business owners.

The consequences for failing to comply with the E-Verify requirements are also new and more tangible than they have been in the past. If the state’s Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) will send a notice of noncompliance, with a 30-day limit in which the error can be corrected. If a business has 3 violations within a 24-month period, fines starting at $1,000 per day will be assessed. It is crucial for any company continuing to do business in Florida to ensure that their personnel are educated on these requirements, lest the mistake in failing to honor them become quite expensive.

Contact A Seminole, FL Business Law Attorney

If your business has used undocumented labor in the past, or you are concerned about potentially using it in the future, it is important to be aware of the risks you might take in doing so. A Florida business law attorney from the Hunt Law Group can answer your questions about your business’s future. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.



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