Virginia Passes Legislation Requiring State Contractors to Use E-Verify

Expect more states to follow this trend. Virginia has joined the list of states requiring certain companies contracting with the state to enroll in and use the E-Verify program. SB 1049, recently approved by Governor McDonnell, adds a new section 2.2-4308.2 to the Code of Virginia.

A spokesperson for the Governor’s office stated that the acceleration of the E-Verify requirement was due in part to recent upgrades in the E-Verify system, including the launch of the E-Verify Self-Check tool, which went live March 21. Provided by the Department of Homeland Security, this new web tool is available to workers for the purposes of checking the accuracy of their information in the relevant databases (Social Security Administration and DHS). The initial release is available only to individuals with addresses in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, Virginia and the District of Columbia. The Self-Check tool asks certain questions aimed to verify the identity of the individual. Once verified, the individual can then confirm whether or not the relevant databases accurately reflect his or her appropriate work authorization status.

The new provision will apply to employers that have more than an average of 50 employees for the previous 12 months and that are entering into a contract to perform work for, or provide services to, any agency of the Commonwealth if the value of the work or services is in excess of $50,000. Affected employers must enroll in and utilize the Department of Homeland Security E-Verify program to verify the employment eligibility of new hires performing work pursuant to those contracts.

The law is scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2013; and it appears that it will be applicable to new contracts entered into after that date. Any employer found to have violated the E-Verify requirement can be debarred from contracting with any agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia for a period of up to one year.

The debarment ceases once the employer registers and participates in the E-Verify Program.