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New Immigration Bill Impacts Georgia Employers

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By Hoffman & Associates

***UPDATE: The United States Supreme Court has upheld an Arizona statute requiring that business use the federal E-Verify database to screen new hires similar to Georgia’s HB87!***

On May 13, 2011, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed House Bill 87 into law. HB 87 is designed to tackle a litany of immigration issues facing the state. Of particular importance to Georgia businesses, HB87 will require almost all Georgia employers to use the federal government’s “E-Verify” system for all new hires by the end of 2012. To enforce this new law, every business will now have to submit an affidavit regarding compliance with E-Verify to its local government before that business can obtain or renew its business license or occupational tax certificate. In essence, failure to properly comply with the E-Verify system could cost you the ability to do business in your community.

E-Verify is an Internet based system operated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services which employers can use to verify the employment eligibility of employees. E-Verify checks an employee’s I-9 information against the records of the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. If the E-Verify query results in a “tentative non-confirmation”, the employee may contest the finding and has eight government business days to contact Homeland Security or Social Security. During this eight-day buffer, the employer may not take adverse action with respect to the employee.

In Georgia, the E-Verify system will be implemented in stages depending on the number of full-time employees within a particular business. A “full-time” employee is an individual who works in the business 35 hours or more per week. If you are a private employer with more than 500 full-time employees, you must register for E-Verify by January 1, 2012. If you have more than 100 full-time employees, you must register for E-Verify by July 1, 2012, and if you have more than 10 full-time employees, you must register for E-Verify by January 1, 2013.

Almost all businesses potentially face scrutiny under this new law. If we can be of help ensuring you do not run afoul of the emerging employment issues, please contact us at info@hoffmanestatelaw.com(404) 255-7400.