The Montana Senate passed with amendments House Bill 297, “An Act Making Employment of Unauthorized Aliens Unlawful under State Law”, which will require all employers to verify the work eligibility of new hires through the federal E-Verify system beginning October 1, 2013.

Employers would not be required to verify the work eligibility of independent contractors.

While the bill does not authorize a penalty against employers who do not register with and use the E-Verify system, it does provide penalties for employers who knowingly employ an unauthorized worker. Those penalties include suspension of the employer’s business license.

Employers that used the E-Verify system to verify worker eligibility have an affirmative defense against a charge that they knowingly employed an unauthorized worker.

(Montana HB 297, transmitted to Governor for signature on April 26, 2013)