New immigration law provision starts Jan. 1

Published 6:10 am Friday, December 30, 2011

A new law aimed at battling illegal immigration in Georgia will start taking effect Jan. 1, 2012.

The law requires any business with 500 or more employees to use the “E-Verify” system to check the employment elligilibity of all new hires, according to a news release from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. The law will expand in subsequent years, and by 2013 it will encompass all employers with at least 10 employees.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ web site, E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Secuity Administration, which allows employers to electronically verify the employment authorization of their newly hired employees.

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The Georgia law requires employers with 500 or more employees to use E-Verify for new hires on Jan. 1, 2012; for employers with 100 or more employees to use it on July 1, 2012; and for employers with more than 10 employees on July 1, 2013. After July 1, 2013, if an employer has 10 or fewer employees, then they must sign an affidavit stating the provisions do not apply to them.

In addition, every city and county in Georgia must register and use the Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlement (SAVE) program. Effective immediately, for every public benefit that a city or county issues to any person or entity, the city or county must receive a signed and sworn affidavit verifying the person’s lawful presence in the United States, according to the Georgia Chamber.

Public benefits include, but are not limited to, occupational tax certificates (business licenses), alcohol licenses, contracts and insurance license fees.

The Georgia Chamber also stated that, under the new law, a city or county cannot enter into a contract for the “physical performance of services” with a person or entity unless such person or entity signs an affidavit swearing they have registered and participate in E-Verify, and will only contract with companies that have sworn the same.

Already, any company with a federal contract is required to use E-Verify, and Georgia has required all state and local government agencies, and their contractors, to use E-Verify since 2007.

Another aspect of the immigration law that will take effect Sunday gives local law enforcement officers the power to arrest, with probable cause, any person suspected of being an illegal alien.

For more information on E-Verify, visit online at