At the federal level, E-Verify is mandatory only for certain federal contractors and subcontractors who must use E-Verify to confirm that particular employees are authorized to work in the United States. At the state level, there are a growing number of laws that make E-Verify use mandatory. Among the most recent is Virginia’s version of E-Verify, namely, House Bill (HB) 1859. Effective December 1, 2013, the Virginia law requires public contractors in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with more than an average of 50 employees working in the state for the previous 12 months, to register and participate in the federal E-Verify program if entering into a contract in excess of $50,000 with any agency of the Commonwealth to perform work or provide services pursuant to that contract. HB 1859 obliges affected employers to use the E-Verify system to verify the identity and work authorization of newly-hired employees performing work pursuant to such public contract.
Under a separate law—HB 737, all Virginia state agencies were previously required to enroll in the E-Verify program by December 1, 2012 and to use the program for each newly-hired employee who would be working in Virginia. In March 2011, former Governor Bob McDonnell issued a directive that accelerated implementation to June 1, 2011.
Penalties for Violating Virginia’s E-Verify Law
Failure to comply with HB 1859 may result in (1) the denial of prequalification of employers to enter into contracts with the Commonwealth and (2) debarment from contracting with any agency of the Commonwealth for a period of up to one year. Such debarment will cease upon the employer’s registration and participation in the E-Verify program.
Note: This article was published in the December 2013 - January 2014 issue of the Immigration eAuthority.