New Parts of the Immigration Law in Georgia to Become Effective

New Parts of the Immigration Law in Georgia to Become Effective

January 5, 2012


A section in Georgia’s immigration law that targets illegal immigration is about to take effect at the coming of the New Year. Beginning January 1, businesses that employ 500 or more workers are required to use E-Verify, a federal database that allows employers to check the employment eligibility of all their new hires.

The author of the law, Rep. Matt Ramsey, a Republican from Peachtree City, said that at the outset, his primary objective was to discourage illegal and undocumented immigrants from coming to Georgia by making it more difficult for them to find work in the state.

The E-Verify prerequisite is gradually being phased in. It will take effect for businesses with 100 or more workers on July 1 and a year later, for employers with over 10 workers on July 1, 2013.

Another vital provision that will take effect on January 1 is the one requiring agencies that manage public benefits to oblige each applicant to present at least one “secure and verifiable document.” A summary of documents that are considered acceptable were made available by the office of the attorney general over the summer. The agency managing the public benefits must also issue a signed statement verifying the legal presence of an applicant in the country.

The new law also directs the state agriculture department to furnish the governor and the heads of each state Legislative chamber a report by January 1. The department was charged with checking the effect of immigration on the agriculture industry of the state and to provide suggestions concerning needed reforms to the federal guest worker program, as well as make evaluations as to the viability of such program if done at state level.