In what has become a fairly recent trend, four additional states will make use of E-Verify mandatory as of January 1, 2013: Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.

E-Verify is the internet based system through which employers can verify the work eligibility of new hires. Upon hiring a new employee, the employer checks the employee’s information against Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and Social Security Administration (“SSA”) databases to confirm whether the employee is work authorized. Employers who use E-Verify must verify the status of all employees, citizen and noncitizen alike.

Currently, 23 states have made E-Verify mandatory, though most states have limited the requirement to only certain employers. In six states, including Florida and the newly added Pennsylvania, E-Verify is mandatory for public employers and state contractors. Eleven other states have limited the E-Verify requirement to public employers only, contractors only, or through a local or municipal requirement. With the addition of Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, nine states now require E-Verify for both public and private employers. At the Federal level, participation in E-Verify is mandatory for all federal government agencies and federal contractors. For employers who do not fit in any of these categories, enrollment is voluntary.

If you are in a state which has mandated E-Verify, it is important to check your state’s laws, as each state has enacted different requirements relating to other criteria such as number of employees and contract amount. If you are in a state where you are not required to enroll in E-Verify, but are considering doing so, it is not advised that you make such a decision without consulting immigration counsel. Enrollment in E-Verify requires, among other things, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with DHS, subjecting employers to certain responsibilities. It is important that the rights and responsibilities that come with E-Verify are understood in their entirety prior to enrollment.