Georgia Governor Signs Immigration Enforcement Law Requiring Use of E-Verify for Employment Eligibility Verification

Joining the growing list of states mandating the use of the government’s E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system for private companies, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has signed into law a stringent immigration bill – ‘HB 87 – The ‘Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011’ – that requires private employers in the state with more than 10 employees to check the immigration status of new hires using E-Verify, according to a press release from the Governor’s office.

The ‘Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011’ expands the Georgia’s current E-Verify requirement and will phase in mandatory E-Verify usage for many private businesses through the following approach:

  • 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.

The law, which passed both houses of the Georgia Legislature by overwhelming margins,  will also expand police powers to investigate the immigration status of suspects, penalize those who transport or harbor illegal immigrants, and make it a felony to use fake identification to get a job.

“The use of E-Verify means everyone plays by the same rules – and it protects employers by giving them a federal stamp of approval on their workforce,” Governor Deal stated in the press release. “This also protects workers because those who live in the shadows of our society lack legal protections and they’re vulnerable to fraud and abuse.”

E-Verify is a free, web-based employment eligibility verification system from the government that checks employee information on the Form I-9 against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases. A December 2010 report from the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed that E-Verify immediately confirmed the employment eligibility of nearly 97.5 percent of 8.2 million new hires entered in the system during fiscal year 2009.

A Designated E-Verify Employer Agent such as Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a background check provider accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – can help employers comply with Form I-9 and E-Verify requirements. To learn more about Form I-9 and E-Verify services from Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.

The full text of ‘HB 87 – Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011’ is available at: http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display.aspx?Legislation=32190.

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR): Founded in 1997 in the San Francisco Bay area with a mission to help employers and employees maintain safe workplaces, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by founder and President Lester Rosen. For more information about ESR, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at tahearn@ESRcheck.com.

Sources:

http://gov.georgia.gov/00/press/detail/0,2668,165937316_170988643_171299710,00.html

http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/en-US/display.aspx?Legislation=32190

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d11146.pdf