In yet another example of state-led immigration initiatives, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett recently signed a law requiring contractors and subcontractors on publicly funded construction projects to use E-Verify to verify employees’ work eligibility prior to commencing work. The legislation, signed on July 5, 2012 and approved by both houses of the state legislature, aims to ensure that all construction jobs funded by taxpayers employ only documented workers by checking employees’ information against government records.
According to its proponents, the law is necessary to combat Pennsylvania’s high rate of unemployment in the construction industry, which hovered at 14.2 percent in May 2012 – almost twice the state’s overall unemployment rate. The law, which is due to take effect on January 1, 2013, is also expected to cost the state $1.3 million in its first year and will likely require the state Department of General Services to hire additional staff in order to ensure compliance by conducting random contractor and subcontractor audits. Penalties for violating the law will range from a warning for first-time offenses to a three-year ban from public contracts if willful violation is found. In addition, failure to submit Forms I-9 upon request will result in fines of $250 to $1,000 per violation.