Governor Bob McDonnell officially ordered today that all executive branch state agencies implement the E-Verify system to verify employment eligibility based upon immigration status for all new hires by June 1, 2011, a full 18 months ahead of the legislated deadline of Dec. 1, 2012.
The 2010 General Assembly passed legislation (HB737) requiring all state agencies to use E-Verify, an Internet-based system that allows an employer to determine the eligibility of an employee to work in the United States. The E-Verify system is operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration.
"Federal law rightly requires that companies and governments only employ individuals who may legally work in this country - either U.S. citizens or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization." Governor McDonnell said. "My administration has focused on enforcing the nation's immigration laws to ensure that all of those working in Virginia's public and private sectors are legally eligible to do so. The General Assembly passed legislation last year instructing our state agencies to use this federal resource to check employment eligibility based upon immigration status, and I felt strongly that we should implement this policy as quickly as possible. By working closely with our state agencies and the Department of Human Resource Management, we have accelerated this change to begin a year and a half earlier than we had anticipated. We must consistently and correctly enforce the laws of this nation; our country is based on the rule of law. E-Verify will ensure that every state job is held by a legally authorized worker."
E-Verify supplements procedures in place in the Commonwealth since November 1986 to ensure that state agencies are maintaining a legal workforce. Since Sept. 8, 2009, those state agencies receiving federal contracts requiring the use of E-Verify have been using the system.
"Virginia employs more than 100,000 people, so it is incumbent upon us to remain vigilant in ensuring the legal status of all who are on our payroll," said Lisa Hicks-Thomas, secretary of administration. "Virginia's state agencies will lead by example as we strive to have all Virginia companies participate in this free, easy-to-use program that ensures Virginia's workers are legally eligible for jobs in the U.S."
Nationwide, more than 238,000 employers are enrolled in the program, with over 16 million queries run through the system in fiscal year 2010.