Employers in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas must now comply with state-specific employment authorization verification requirements. Generally, these states require state agencies and state contractors to complete additional steps to verify their employees’ employment eligibility through the use of the DHS Basic Pilot Program and/or attestations. Only Arizona and Colorado extend such requirements to all employers in Colorado. Summaries of the requirements in each of the eight states are provided below.
Arizona—Effective January 1, 2008, Arizona prohibits employers who knowingly employ unauthorized workers and subjects violators to a three-year probationary period as well as possible suspension of their business license for a minimum of fi ve days. Employers who intentionally employ unauthorized workers will be subject to a fi ve-year probationary period and will have their business licenses suspended for a minimum of ten days. Subsequent violations during the probationary period will lead to a permanent revocation of an employer’s Arizona business license. In addition, employers in Arizona must verify the work authorization of all new hires by utilizing the Basic Pilot Program.
Arkansas—Effective August 1, 2007, Arkansas prohibits state agencies from entering into contracts with businesses that knowingly employ or contract with “illegal immigrants.” Prospective contractors and sub-contractors employed by the state under contracts valued at $25,000 or more are required to certify that they do not, at the time of certifi cation, employ or contract with undocumented workers. Violators may be liable to the state for any actual damages incurred. The state anticipates the use of an Internet-based application that must be completed prior to the award of a contract.
Colorado—All employers, regardless of size or trade, must maintain copies of documentation in support of Form I-9. In addition to completing an I-9 form, Colorado employers must complete an affi rmation of legal work status within twenty days of a new hire, that confi rms the employer has met the following four requirements: (1) It has examined the legal work status of each new employee hired after January 1, 2007; (2) It has retained copies of required I-9 documents for examination; (3) It has not altered or falsifi ed the documents presented by the employee; and (4) It has not knowingly hired an unauthorized worker. The employer must keep an electronic or written copy of the affi rmation with supporting documents. Additionally, effective August 7, 2006, state contractors are required to verify the legal status of all new hires using the DHS’ Basic Pilot Program. Lastly, employers seeking to qualify for a grant, loan, or performance-based incentive from the Colorado Economic Development Commission must verify the work authorization and prove the legal status of all employees. Violators may be required to repay the award and became ineligible for an economic development incentive for fi ve years from the date of repayment.
Georgia—Public employers, state contractors and sub-contractors with over 500 employees must use the Basic Pilot Program to verify the status of newly hired employees. Public employers, state contractors and subcontractors with 100 or more employees must comply with Georgia’s verifi cation requirement by July 1, 2008; all other public employers and state contractors have until July 1, 2009, to register and participate in a federal work authorization program.
Iowa—Any business that receives economic development assistance from the State of Iowa must provide periodic assurances that all their positions are fi lled solely by individuals authorized to work in the United States.
Massachusetts—Any contractor doing business with an Executive Branch agency must certify, as a condition of receiving funds from the State, that it will not use unauthorized workers. Currently, all contracts with such agencies must include a Certifi cation Form that is available from the Commonwealth’s Offi ce of the Comptroller (http://www.mass.gov/Aosd/docs/policy /updt0725.doc).
Oklahoma—Effective November 1, 2007, Oklahoma requires all public employers, as well as their contractors and sub-contractors, to use a “status verification system” to verify the immigration status of employees. The State recognizes the Basic Pilot Program and the Social Security Number Verifi cation Service as acceptable forms of status verifi cation systems. The requirement to use a status verifi cation system becomes effective July 1, 2008, and applies to contracts entered into for the physical performance of services after November 1, 2007, and only to new employees hired after that date.
Tennessee—No state entity may contract to acquire goods or services from any person or business that knowingly utilizes the services of unauthorized workers in the performance of the contract. Likewise, persons who knowingly utilize the services of unauthorized workers are prohibited from using such employees to perform work on contracts with the state or state entities. State contracts must contain standardized language stating that the contractor does not and will not knowingly utilize the services of unauthorized workers. Persons and companies doing business with the state or a state entity must attest, using a standardized form provided by the Department of Finance and Administration, that they will not knowingly make use of the services of unauthorized workers in the performance of a contract. These attestations must be updated semi-annually, maintained by the state contractor, and be available to state offi cials, who are authorized to make random checks for compliance. State contractors must also require the semi-annual attestations from all subcontractors utilized to perform work under a state contract.
Texas—Effective September 1, 2007, Texas will require any business that applies to the State of Texas for a public subsidy to include in the application a statement certifying that the business does not and will not knowingly employ an unauthorized alien.