Two separate bills aimed at controlling the hiring of unauthorized workers recently were introduced and referred to the Senate and Assembly Labor Committees. Pursuant to the companion bills, (A322, S164) every employer, before hiring an employee, would be required to verify the employment eligibility of the employee through the federal E-Verify program. The bill further directs the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to develop a random auditing program to inspect private employers for compliance with the E-Verify requirement and the imposition of civil penalties for violation of the E-Verify requirements.

The bills also prohibit the employment of unauthorized aliens and impose penalties of a three to five year probationary period for a first offense as well as the suspension of the employer’s business license for a period not to exceed 10 business days. A second violation of “knowingly or intentionally” employing an unauthorized alien would require the New Jersey Superior Court to order the permanent revocation of the employer’s business license issued by the State or any political subdivisions of the State.

Similarly pending in the Assembly is a bill (A1766) which also requires employers use E-verify to check the employment eligibility of each new hire within 90 days of the date of hire. The bill further provides for the imposition of a graduated penalty system against any employer that knowingly employs unauthorized aliens. A first offense requires the imposition of a $20,000 fine for each unauthorized alien and three years of monitored probation. A second offense carries a $30,000 fine for each unauthorized alien and an additional five years of monitored probation.

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