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New immigration law could affect us all

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If you think Georgia's new immigration law doesn't affect you, you might be in for a surprise. Business and government leaders think the changes will affect us all.

Starting next year, some employers will have to use the E-verify system to ensure employees are legal workers.

Anyone applying for public benefits will also have to show secure and verifiable identification like a passport or drivers license to try to prevent illegal immigrants from getting taxpayer funded benefits.

This new law is going to affect all businesses who need to apply for a business license and it will have the biggest affect on big business first.

Questions surround Georgia's new immigration law. Big business with more than 500 employees will be hit with the new verification requirements first, so we went to one of Albany's largest employers, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital to see how they'll handle the new requirements.

"It will put an additional step into our normal recruitment or on-boarding processes. We already fill out the I-9 form," said David Baranski, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Human Resources Senior Vice President.

The law will require businesses to E-verify all new hires.

"This is an additional double check that cross references, in our electronic process it will be just one more step we will have to take to comply with Georgia law," said Baranski.

In July businesses with 100 or more employees will join, and it could be tougher for businesses with more than 10 employees to do next year.

"I can see for small organizations where it could be a burden those that don't have a formal Human Resources Department of someone dedicated to doing those functions," said Baranski.

It's required in order for a business to obtain a new business license.

"Once they apply for the renewal and the new occupational tax certificate they will have to complete the affidavit," said Ava O'Neal Albany Treasury Manager.

Certifying they've completed the process. Business owners will also have to apply for licenses in person rather than online renewals in the past, promising long lines in the office.

"The whole purpose of both programs is to ensure through our employers that of course they are indeed if they're in the United State, they're citizens or again they are allowed to work in the United States," said O'Neal.

It's not just business licenses it's any public benefit. That list includes adult education, business loans, energy assistance to name a few and acceptable documents to prove you status include everything from passports to tribal identification cards to a driver's license.

It's important that city officials and employees understand the new laws and the requirements, because the penalties can include fines up to $10,000, and criminal prosecution.

One question is whether you'll be allowed to submit some of the information online. Critics say that would open verification documents to fraud. The state Attorney General's office is still looking at the matter.

 

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