Today, the Governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, signed into law a stringent immigration bill making the “Peach State” the latest to join the ever growing list of states that mandate E-Verify participation for private companies. The law also expands police powers to investigate the immigration status of certain suspects, penalizes people who transport or harbor illegal immigrants, and makes it a felony to use fake identification to get a job, amongst other immigration and related enforcement measures.
Full details of the new law can be found on the Georgia legislature web site.
You can also read the Governor’s Office official press release here.
Several years ago, Georgia enacted legislation requiring all state contractors and subcontractors use E-Verify. With today’s signing, Georgia’s new Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 (also known as HB 87) widely expands the state’s E-Verify requirement, making it mandatory for many private businesses through a phased in approach. As of Jan. 1, 2012, private employers in Georgia with 500 or more employees must E-Verify newly hired full-time employees. Businesses with 100 or more employees but fewer than 500 must begin using E-Verify for newly hired full-time employees on or before July 1, 2012. Finally, the E-Verify requirement applies to all private businesses with between 11 and 99 employees starting July 1, 2013. It’s worth noting that businesses with 10 or fewer employees are exempt.
According to the new law, employers will be expected to provide evidence that the company is enrolled with E-Verify or is exempt from the requirement in the form of an affidavit that will be provided by the Attorney General and posted on the Department of Law’s official web site on later than January 1, 2012 . Failure to comply could result in the suspension or denial of a business license, occupational tax certificate, or other document required to operate a business in the state.
Arizona has a similar E-Verify law on the books. A coalition of businesses and immigrant rights groups is suing to stop Arizona’s law, arguing it is unconstitutional. The case is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Disclaimer: The content of this post does not constitute direct legal advice and is designed for informational purposes only. Information provided through this website should never replace the need for involving informed counsel on your employment and immigration issues.