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SK announces new procedures after concerns about illegal workers at Commerce site

SK Battery America has announced new procedures after concerns about workers at the company’s $1.67 billion Jackson County facility. 

In an Aug. 19 letter, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, asked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to investigate whether there “may be an ongoing effort to illegally employ foreign nationals” at the facility.  

Collins referred to a May 29 incident at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, when border officials say they “intercepted 33 Korean nationals … who were attempting to enter the United States with fraudulent work authorizations.” He said he had heard from a constituent who “observed additional Korean nationals already illegally working at the facility.”  

The Commerce plant is expected to hire more than 2,000 employees.  

SK Battery America has implemented new procedures to address the concerns, according to a statement. 

“The construction workers at the site are hired by our contractors and are not SK employees. However, SKBA has told its contractors from the start to place a priority on hiring local American workers,” according to the statement. “SKBA is also implementing new measures, including a daily admission process to the site where all workers must present documentation. Every worker must bring documentation to prove they are lawfully permitted to work in the U.S. No illegal workers are permitted to enter SKBA’s site.” 

SK will issue sanctions if contractors violate the policy, including possible termination of the contractor, according to the statement. The company also plans to complete inspections at the site. 

“After becoming aware in May of possible hiring issues by our construction contractors, SKBA reiterated with its contractors that U.S. employment guidelines must be followed,” according to the statement. “We are cooperating with authorities to provide our support in resolving any issues and taking proactive steps to address this matter.”