Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 (HB 87) into law, and many private businesses with 11 or more employees will be required by law to utilize E-Verify to confirm employment eligibility status of newly hired employees beginning January 1, 2012.
The implementation date for these new guidelines directly correlates with the total number of employees:
- Private employers in Georgia with 500 or more employees must use E-Verify for new hires on or before January 1, 2012.
- Private employers in Georgia with 100 or more employees but fewer than 500 must use E-Verify for new hires on or before July 1, 2012.
- Private employers in Georgia with between 11 and 99 employees must use E-Verify for new hires on or before July 1, 2013.
- Private employers in Georgia with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from the law.
In order to determine when the E-Verify requirement will go into effect, private employers must count the number of employees working at least 35 hours per week as of January 1 of this year. Additionally, at the time a business or individual applies for or renews a business license, occupational tax certificate or other document required to operate a business in Georgia, the applicant must provide evidence that the company or individual uses E-Verify or is exempt.
It is our understanding that this legislation affects public employers as well. Public employers are required to obtain affidavits from contractors (and any subcontractors and sub-subcontractors) stating that they are enrolled in and use E-Verify or, in the case of a contractor, subcontractor, or sub-subcontractor who has no employees and does not intend to hire employees during the term of the contract, to provide a copy of a state-issued driver's license or ID card issued by a U.S. state that verifies lawful immigration status before issuing that document.
Additionally, the new legislation expands law enforcement’s ability to investigate the immigration status of suspects, establishes penalties for transporting or harboring illegal immigrants, and classifies the presentation of fake documentation to obtain employment as a felony offense. According to the Governor’s press release, “This immigration reform measure fulfills my promise to Georgians to crack down on the influx of illegal immigrants into our state. Georgia has the sixth-highest number of illegal residents, and this comes at enormous expense to Georgia taxpayers.”
Contact EBI today to learn more about EBI’s employment eligibility solutions. EBI offers electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions to employers. EBI is a proud supporter and an approved designated Agent for the Department of Homeland Security.
Employment Background Investigations, Inc. is committed to providing employers with valuable education, news and resources around background screening, drug testing, occupational healthcare and employment eligibility. All content provided by EBI is published for the convenience of its readers and should never be deemed as legal guidance or advice. Always consult your legal counsel for specific advice on local laws and industry regulations.
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