The Department of Homeland Security requires that every employer verify the identity and employment eligibility of every new employee at the time that employment begins. This includes all individuals employed by a dental office, but does not include independent contractors. Form I-9 was developed to verify that persons are eligible to work in the U.S. Each employee you hire must complete Form I-9 at the time he or she begins employment. Along with a completed Form I-9, each employee must also provide original documents that establish their identity and employment eligibility (acceptable documents include a U.S. passport, state driver’s license or ID card, U.S. Social Security card, and certified birth certificate. The employee may need to provide multiple documents). The employer must retain the completed form and copies of all eligibility documentation for three years from the date of hire and / or one year after the date employment ends, whichever is longer. Visit www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf for more details.

Starting July 1, 2013, the final phase of the 2011 Georgia E-Verify law took effect, requiring private companies in Georgia with more than 10 employees to use the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify system. Another point dentists should keep in mind is that local governments will not grant or renew a business license or other government certificate or permit for a private business, like a dental office, until it submits an affidavit certifying its enrollment in the E-Verify program or claims an exemption because it employs fewer than 10 employees. Georgia dentist  employers would be well advised to review their employment verification policies/procedures to ensure that their I-9, E-Verify and associated practices are fully compliant.