Supporters of tougher immigration laws are applauding the implementation of new laws that place stricter hiring rules on employers.
In states like Alabama, the latest legislation will significantly affect employment in the construction industry. The Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizens Protection Act, as of one month ago, requires every subcontractor or contractor to research the eligibility of their employees through the E-Verify system.
E-Verify is an Internet-based system trademarked by the Department of Homeland Security that enables businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.
To make sure employers comply with the rule changes, part of the act includes stiff penalties against violators – everything from being excluded from bidding on state contracts to revocation of a business license – for a first offense. The law goes further to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the workforce by imposing the same rules April 1 on every company in Alabama, not just ones that do business with the state government.
Georgia, with its Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011, is now mandating that all private businesses with 500 or more employees use E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. The incremental amendment will place the same standards on all new hiring for companies with 10 or more employees by July of next year. The sweeping changes are simply a sign of the times, particularly for southern states.
Whether you agree or not with the requirements, the fact is there are more legislators considering introducing similar measures in their states. The most important thing for any employer is to keep their ear to the ground for any new rules that might affect their hiring process.
The completion of Form I-9, which verifies employment authorization, has always been a formality, but we could be approaching a new era in which using E-Verify becomes the standard.
To read up on possible changes to hiring laws in your state, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website at www.uscis.gov.