06 Jun Immigration
Georgia now has a new Illegal Immigration Reform and /Enforcement Act of 2011 that will require private employers with 500 or more employees to begin using E-Verify to check the employment authorization of newly-hired employees by January 1, 2012. Employers with 100 or more employees must begin E-Verify confirmation for new hires by July 1, 2012. Employers with 11 or more employees have until July 2013 to begin compliance. Only full-time employees who work 35 hours or more a week are included in the definition of “employee.” Employers will be required to complete an affidavit confirming compliance with the E-Verify provision in connection with securing a new or renewed business license.
E-Verify is an Internet-based resource operated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services where employers can confirm employee-provided I-9 information against records contained in Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration databases.
The new penalties for non-compliance can be Draconian, including losing the corporation’s right to function as a corporation for repeated violations of the act. As hard as it is to confirm accurate identification information from hew hires, companies with high turnover or seasonal hiring will continue to experience compliance headaches.
Although we can expect court challenges to many of the act’s provisions, Georgia employers should continue to monitor these developments and consult with their employment counsel about:
· Training employees to assure consistent and reliable I-9 documentation;
· Training employees or out-sourcing E-Verify compliance;
· Vigilant follow through when receiving Social Security no-match letters identifying names and social security numbers that do not match;
· Developing training of management and security for procedures and cooperation when confronted with local ICE sweeps and management of possible labor fluctuations;
· Contract review and selection procedures to promote compliance by independent contractors and labor suppliers with the new Georgia act;
· Proper classification of employees and independent contractors when counting how many employees a company has in Georgia to determine compliance thresholds under the Georgia act;
· Management of employee levels affecting compliance obligations;
Review corporate forms and registrations as part of an over-all strategy to promote compliance and minimization of legal risks.