Posts Tagged ‘E-Verify’

Survey Of Immigration Law Changes Published on Construction Law Musings – Thanks!

Thanks to my friend Chris Hill and his Construction Law Musings for allowing me to publish a guest post on this blog this morning survey the nation’s changing immigration laws.

The post titled “The Landscape of US Immigration Laws and How It Affects The Construction Industry,” reviews the states that have and are considering immigration law reform, and discusses how these new laws can possible effect your construction business.

We’ve talked about these immigration laws a good bit on this blog in our discussion of the E-Verify system.  You can more of these posts under the tag: E-Verify.

Big thanks to Chris Hill for the opportunity to do another guest post on his blog.

Posted in:     Construction News, Regulations  /  Tags: , , ,   /   2 Comments

The US Supreme Court’s AZ Immigration Decision Could Spell Trouble For The Construction Industry

By now you’re heard the news that the United States Supreme Court has upheld the controversial Arizona immigration law allowing states to shut down businesses that hire illegal workers.

A pointed summary of law’s effects is found in the above-linked WSJ article:

The Legal Arizona Workers Act requires employers to use a federal system called E-Verify to check employees’ legal status. It says the state can revoke charters or licenses from employers that repeatedly hire noncitizens lacking work permits. Signing the legislation in 2007, then-Gov. Janet Napolitano called it the “business death penalty.”

The Supreme Court’s decision adds fuel to the E-Verify debate, which we have discussed on this blog in exhausting detail.  The E-Verify system is currently very confusing to contractors. Regulations previously promised to make it mandatory, and those were abandoned two or three times, with the system now being mostly voluntary.  There are, however, exceptions, as it is required on certain federally funded projects, and on all projects in Mississippi, South Carolina, and Arizona.  It is required on state projects in Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, Georgia and North Carolina.

The consequences of not following the E-Verify requirements can be severe (see the AZ “death penalty” law), and unfortunately, most contractors are just flat-out confused about how to use the system, when to use it, and what to do when if something turns up about an employee when using it.

The USSC’s sanction of the AZ law demonstrates just how severe penalties for non-compliance can be, and it confirms that the federal government and states can fight illegal workers by penalizing the businesses for using illegal labor. State legislation and federal legislation targeting businesses is likely to follow this big decision. Ensure you don’t get penalized by getting informed and active with the E-Verify program immediately.

Posted in:     Construction News  /  Tags: , , ,   /   2 Comments

More Federal Contracts For Small Businesses – How To Capitalize just published an article indicating that there is “good news and bad news when it comes to small businesses and government contracting.”

The good news is that According to the SBA’s fourth annual small business Procurement Scorecard, small businesses got a record number of federal contracting dollars in 2009.   But the bad news is that the SBA is still not reaching its goals in giving money to small businesses.

Really, however, the bad news is good news, because according to the article,  the SBA has “said it will do more to unbundle big contracts into separate, smaller ones that are easier to award to small companies.”

Why isn’t the SBA meeting its goals?

I think this is probably a mixture of two complexities.

On the one hand, the SBA and big-construction firms are so used to working together, that it’s so easy for the SBA to coordinate with those outfits, and too complicated to do the extra work to reach out to and work with small businesses.

On the other hand, small firms aren’t used to getting federal work, and so the process of applying for this work is quite complicated for them as well.   As one commentator stated to the article:

With all the red tape associated with getting a government contract I’m surprised that small businesses are even taking on the challenge. What the government needs to do is make the process easier.

Resources To Help You Get and Comply Federal Projects

So, if there is so much federal money out there…how exactly do you get your hands on some of it and successfuly bid on federal work?  And what regulations must you know when performing?

Over the years, we’ve posted a good deal about federal contracting on the Construction Law Monitor.  Here is a highlight of some of our posts that can help you in getting and making money on a federal project.

The Stimulus and Your Construction Business:    After the stimulus package was first announced, we posted explaining the differences between private and public work, and described the process of bidding on and getting federal work.   It’s good information still today.

E-Verify!:   If you work on a federal project, you must use e-Verify to check the social security numbers of your employees.  This is quite controversial in our immigration-sensitive society.   But, regardless, if you’re doing work on a federal project, it’s crucial you comply.

Prevailing Wages:   If you work on a federal project, you must comply with federal labor laws (including the Davis Bacon Act).  If you don’t, you’ll be confronted with harsh financial and non-financial penalties from the US Department of Labor, and you don’t want that.

The Miller Act:  Finally, if you’re doing federal work, you want to get paid.  Unlike on private projects, you cannot file an ordinary mechanics lien.  Instead, you must make a Miller Act Claim against the bond.  We’ve written a number of articles on the Miller Act to give you the need-to-know-information.

Finally, a great general resource:   Federal Construction Contracting Blog.

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E-Verify Required in Mississippi on State and Private Projects

At the Construction Law Monitor, we’ve traced the history of the E-Verify requirement from President Bush’s aggressive regulation to the less severe Obama one.   Along the way, there has been a lot of discourse about the federal requirements, and specifically the requirement that E-Verify get used on every federal contract, and even those contracts that just use federal funds.

Here is something we haven’t mentioned:   State Requirements.

Some states have passed legislation requiring E-Verify on state funded projects, and even on qualifying private projects.

Most notable for our Louisiana clients is legislation passed (and in force) in Mississippi.

The Mississippi Employment Protection Act is the culprit in that state, and the folks over at the I-9 and E-Verify Blog published this excellent summary of the law’s e-Verify component:

The Mississippi Employment Protection Act has also been implemented in stages, mandating E-Verify registration and participation for state agencies and political subdivisions, all public contractors, all public subcontractors, and private employers with two hundred fifty (250) or more employees starting July 1, 2008; private employers with at least one hundred (100) but less than two hundred fifty (250) employees on July 1, 2009; and as of today, private employers with at least thirty (30) but less than one hundred (100) employees. The law will further expand to cover all employers in Mississippi on July 1, 2011.

Employers that do not comply with the law by the applicable effective date may have any existing state contract terminated and become ineligible for public contracts for three years, or have any license, permit, or certificate allowing the employer to do business in Mississippi suspended for a period of one year, or both.

If you’re doing work in Mississippi, be aware that the e-Verify requirement is much broader than elsewhere in the country.   Other aggressive states?   South Carolina and Utah are among them – anyone else know of any others?

Posted in:     Around The Web, Labor Law  /  Tags: , ,   /   1 Comment

How To Respond To A No-Match Letter: New Avvo Legal Guide

The post-Obama E-Verify requirements have been in effect for more than 1 year already, and while the feared teeth to the Department Of Homeland Security’s (DHS) “No-Match” letters were removed from the regulations, those no-match letters are still being received by employers.   Employers are still responsible for handling them with care…and unfortunately, because of the intersection between your duties to the DHS and your employee, care is certainly required.

I prepared an Legal Guide with the steps you should take in the event you receive a N0-Match letter.    Here is a tease:

Step 1:  Do NOT Immediately Fire The Employee

Step 2:  Review Your Files for Simple Mistakes

Step 3:  Send Written Notice to Employee

Step 4:  Followup With Employee

Step 5:  Terminate, Carefully

For explanations of these steps, check out the Avvo Legal Guide.

Posted in:     Labor Law  /  Tags: , ,   /   Leave a comment