E-Verify is an Internet-based program that determines the employment eligibility of new hires. It compares Form I-9 (which is “used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States”) with information on file at the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. The E-Verify program is run by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, a component of the Department of Homeland Security.
The I-9 Form is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All employers must ensure proper completion of the I-9 Form for each individual hired in the United States. This form has been mandatory for every employee hired since November 6, 1986. This form is required for citizens and non-citizens, and both employees and employers must complete the form. Employers must retain the I-9 Form for a designated period of time and the I-9 Form is necessary to comply with mandatory state laws regarding E-Verify.
State law mandates the use of E-Verify for every “public employer” to determine employment eligibility for those legally allowed to work in the United States. The state’s definition of public employer includes municipalities and consolidated governments, among others. That means every municipality and consolidated government must register for and use the E-Verify program—even if a municipality or consolidated government has zero employees.
Registering for E-Verify does not eliminate the need for new hires to complete the I-9 form.
E-Verify only applies to new hires and re-hires. Your city is not required to use E-Verify for current or previous employees.
Municipality Registration for E-Verify
In case your city has not yet registered for E-Verify, follow the steps below.
- Review and also make sure you have the right information on hand to complete the registration process.
- Go to the E-Verify website to register. Follow all of the steps and prompts.
- Receive your E-Verify identification number and date of authorization.
- Place this identification number and date of authorization on your city’s website. If your city does not have a website, you will need to upload the information on the Carl Vinson Institute of Government’s website.
For already registered cities, new city clerks can contact E-Verify to amend your city’s point of contact information and obtain a new password.
Using E-Verify for New Hires and Rehires
You must begin the E-Verify process “no later than the third business day after the employee starts work for pay.”
Whenever your city is hiring someone for the first time or rehiring someone who has been previously employed by the city, you will:
- Receive the potential employee’s I-9 form.
- Run their information through E-Verify online by creating a case. Follow all of the steps and prompts.
- Receive authorization or non-confirmation from E-Verify. Depending on the result, you will receive different results:
- Employment Authorized: It is legal for the employee to work in the United States.
- Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC): The employee must work with the United States government to supply any needed additional information. In the meantime, retain the employee and do not pry into the process at all.
- No Show: The employee did not contest or provide additional documentation to the United States government. You must terminate that employee immediately.
- Final Nonconfirmation: The United States government could not verify the employee’s employment eligibility. You must terminate that employee immediately.
- Keep E-Verify documentation about an employee with their I-9 forms for three years after the date of hire or one year after separation.
Contractors, Bids, and RFPs
Any contractors performing the “physical performance of services” for your city, including those that respond to bids or requests for proposals, must submit an E-Verify affidavit. Your city cannot consider any contractors, even as part of a bidding or RFP process, unless they have given you the appropriate E-Verify contractor affidavits.
Contractors are defined as those who provide any “physical performance of services,” which means any performance of labor or services for a public employer using a bidding process or by contract that costs over $2,499.99 in value between December 1 and November 30 of any given year. Typically, eligible contracts may include:
- New construction or the demolition of structures/roads
- Routine operation, repair, and maintenance of existing structures
- Any contracts for labor and service that exceed $2,499.99
Contracts for the purchase of goods without any services provided are not subject to these E-Verify requirements.
The city, each contractor, and each subcontractor have different roles and responsibilities in the E-Verify process.
- The city collects E-Verify affidavits from the contractor.
- The contractor collects E-Verify affidavits from its subcontractors.
- The subcontractors collect E-Verify affidavits from its sub-subcontractors.
- Independent contractors (those with no employees) do not need to supply E-Verify information. Instead, they will provide a driver’s license or state identification card from states on the “compliant” list created by the Georgia Attorney General.
- Those contractors and subcontractors that fill out the affidavits are responsible for the accuracy of the information. The city does not need to confirm that the E-Verify information is correct. The liability for incorrect information is on the contractor or subcontractor.
You need to file your E-Verify contractor compliance report by December 31 of each year to the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts
: Create an Excel spreadsheet with the following rows and keep it updated throughout the year. Refrain from using commas in the Excel spreadsheet, as the format used to file the compliance report is a “comma separated value” or “csv” format.
- Contractor legal name
- Federal work program user #
- Date of the contract
Your city needs to retain contractor affidavits at least five years after receipt.
Private employers who apply for licenses or any occupational tax certificates must submit a private employer E-Verify affidavit if the private employer has 11 or more employees who each work at least 35 hours per week. Businesses must submit information current as of January 1 each year.
GMA’s publication, Immigration Mandates on Municipalities, says, “Before a municipality is allowed to grant a business license or other document required to operate a business, the municipality must obtain an E-Verify affidavit from the business. If the business is a private employer “engaged in a profession or business required to be licensed by the state under Title 43,” then the municipality is required to obtain proof of state licensure before granting the local business license. Title 43 of the Georgia Code contains mandates for state licensure for a large number of professions, including, but not limited to, barbers, cosmetologists, electricians, plumbers, nurses, contractors, transient merchants, used car salesmen, and many more.”
While a Georgia Office of the Attorney General affidavit exists, the Georgia Municipal Association has created an affidavit that is much easier and relevant to use. You will find this affidavit on page 49 of GMA’s publication Immigration Mandates on Municipalities.
Unless there is a change in the license applicant or a change in the number of employees that would determine the affidavit requirement, a new affidavit is not required for renewals.
Insurance companies are not required to submit an affidavit for issuing insurance licenses.
You need to report this information by December 31 of every year to the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts. O.C.G.A. 36-60-6 (e) requires that you will:
- Identify each business license, occupational tax certificate, or other license document required to operate a business issued during the preceding 12 months.
- Submit information on each of those documents to the Department of Audit and Accounts.
- Business Name
- Applicant Name
- Federally Assigned Employment Eligibility Verification System User Number as provided in the affidavit submitted at the time of application.
The Georgia Department of Audits offers videos, reporting requirements, and other helpful information.
The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) is an Internet-based program run by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, a component of the Department of Homeland Security. It determines the immigration status of applicants for public benefits. However, SAVE does not determine benefit eligibility. For immigration status, an affidavit must be collected from each and every applicant for a public benefit from the city before the public benefit is given to the applicant by the city.
SAVE is mandatory in the state of Georgia and all municipalities need to be registered. To register:
- Go to the SAVE website.
- Follow the steps and prompts to register.
Note: DO NOT check any of the options listed for Public Benefits. Instead write in “Other” in the blank field provided and fill out the "GMA Checklist." Fax this checklist to the SAVE program. The Fax number can be found at the bottom of the checklist. Prior to faxing the GMA checklist to SAVE, please consult your city attorney to ensure that the list comprehensively covers all of the public benefits that your city provides.
- The SAVE legal staff will review your registration.
- If approved, you will receive your Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and Anticipated Collections Addendum (ACA) that needs to be reviewed by your city attorney and approved by the city. The ACA is an estimate for SAVE planning purposes and the city will not be charged for the estimates that are provided.
Note: It can take days or weeks to go through the registration process because SAVE’s legal staff must approve your application. New city clerks will need to contact SAVE to change the city’s point of contact information and obtain a new user name and password.
Once you start using SAVE, note that it will cost:
- $0.50 per electronic query
- $2.00 per paper query
- A minimum monthly charge of $25 if you use SAVE at all during a given month. Yes, that means if you only make one electronic query in a month, you will be charged a full $25 for that month.
To help with your budgeting:
- Consider gathering all of your SAVE inquiries to perform during one month out of the year. Then, you won’t have to pay a $25 monthly charge for months during which you rarely use SAVE.
- Budget $300 for the year just to make sure that your city covers any SAVE costs.
SAVE is completely different and distinct from E-Verify. It pertains to any administration of public benefits. Public benefits are defined as:
- Employee Benefits (retirement, health benefits, disability)
- Commercial and Occupational Licenses (alcoholic beverage, occupation tax certificates, taxicab, insurance company)
- Miscellaneous Licenses (e.g. auctioneers, pawn brokers, massage therapists, etc.)
An applicant must submit the following before receiving the public benefit (licenses).
Only those applicants who execute an affidavit stating they are a legal permanent resident or that they are a qualified alien should be run through the SAVE program.
A new SAVE affidavit is not required for renewals if there is no change in the license applicant or if applying for a new public benefit within the same agency.
Any businesses paying an insurance company license fee are excluded from the SAVE process on the municipal level because such companies receive their licensing to do business in Georgia from the state.
By December 31 of every year, the city must submit a report to the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts selecting each public benefit administered by the city and identifying if each public benefit for SAVE authorization has been received.
Retain all SAVE records for each applicant for three years.
The results of non-compliance and intentional failure to follow the requirements of the law are outlined in GMA’s Immigration Mandates on Municipalities publication. They can be severe repercussion for not following these laws.