Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gwinnett Checking Businesses for Immigration Status

More than 26,000 Gwinnett-based businesses soon will get a letter from the County’s license and revenue office asking for compliance with a new state immigration law. The County is required to check the immigration status of all applicants for a business/occupation tax certificate, commonly called a business license.

Board Chairman Charles Bannister said the law requires all applicants to be a U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident, qualified alien or a nonimmigrant as defined in the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act. Bannister explained, “We are making sure that Gwinnett County is in compliance with the law.”

All businesses, corporations, LLCs and partnerships registered in Gwinnett will receive the letter over the next few weeks. Applicants are required to return a signed, notarized affidavit before they can renew online or receive a 2010 business/occupation tax certificate. Those who are not U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents must also submit a copy of certain paperwork to establish their status, which the County will verify through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program operated by the federal Department of Homeland Security.

Since 2007, Gwinnett has been verifying the immigration status of applicants for jobs at the County and its primary contractors and subcontractors. The verification program also applies to other public benefits such as housing assistance, certain work permits and adult education.
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