What is E-Verify and Should My Company Use It?

What is E-Verify and Should My Company Use It?

E-Verify is a federal internet-based system that can be used by employers to confirm the identification and work authorization information provided by new employees. It is free to use, but there are administrative costs associated with making it a part of your I-9 Work Authorization Verification Procedure. The system works by comparing data received from new employees with information from the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security immigration and identification databases. In this article, I’ll answer several basic questions about E-Verify and try to help you determine whether it would benefit your organization.

KEY POINT: E-VERIFY CHECKS EMPLOYEE PROVIDED INFORMATION AGAINST GOVERNMENT INFORMATION TO CONFIRM WHETHER AN EMPLOYEE IS ELIGIBLE TO WORK IN THE U.S.

How does E-Verify work? Employers take information provided by employees on their I-9 documents and run it through the E-Verify website. Within a few minutes the employer will have one of four possible responses.

1. Employment Authorized

2. SSA Tentative Non-confirmation – indicates employee’s name and Social Security Number as provided do not match with the information with the Social Security Administration.

3. DHS Tentative Non-confirmation – indicates that employee’s name does not match the name listed in the Department of Homeland Security database.

4. DHS Verification in Process – indicates DHS is taking longer than expected and may require up to three additional workdays to provide confirm work authorization or issue a Tentative Non-confirmation.

If the employer receives one of the Tentative Non-Confirmations (TNC), the employee must be notified and provided with a Further Action Notice which will explain to the employee how to dispute the Tentative Non-confirmation. If the employee decides to challenge the TNC, the employer must not terminate, suspend, or take any other adverse action against the employee based on the TNC. However, if the employee does not dispute it, then the TNC will be considered a final determination and the employee should be terminated.

Can I use E-Verify to pre-screen employees for employment eligibility prior to hiring? Negative ghost-rider! E-Verify can be done any time after the new employee has accepted the job offer and the I-9 has been completed, however, it must be completed no later than three days after the first day of employment. E-Verify cannot be used as a tool for pre-screening potential employees. It is also important to note that E-Verify must be utilized consistently with all new employees. Employers must not be selective in who they run through the system.

Is E-Verify Mandatory? E-Verify is typically not mandatory, however, there are a handful of states that have made E-Verify mandatory. Texas is not one of those states. Federal and state employees are subject to an E-Verify confirmation, and generally companies that contract with the federal and state governments are required to use E-Verify as well.

If I’m not required to use E-Verify, are there any advantages for me using it? There are advantages to using E-Verify if you employ a multicultural workforce and you are dedicated to doing your best only to hire authorized workers. E-Verify significantly deters potential employees that are unauthorized to work in the United States because the employee knows any fraudulent document submitted, regardless of how legitimate it looks, will be verified against government identification and work authorization databases. In the event you still have an unauthorized applicant, the actual database check typically weeds that employee out. Despite the effectiveness of E-Verify, there are a few cases when unauthorized workers can defraud the employer and E-Verify. This can be uncovered during identity theft investigations and worksite enforcements. The good news for the employer is that investigators will presume you are criminally innocent of knowingly employing unauthorized workers if you are using E-Verify the way it is intended to be used. In other words, if you have a procedure that follows the law and your company is following the procedure.

So, E-Verify works, but how well does it work? According to statistics published by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service in 2016, almost 99% of all new hires receive an immediate “Employment Authorized” notice. What this says is that potential employees that have intent to defraud employers are not applying for jobs that will require E-Verify validation. Of the 1+% that receive an initial Tentative Non-confirmation, about .16% are eventually verified as authorized to work while the remaining employees choose either to not challenge the finding or are ultimately determined not authorized. E-Verify works very well.

What is the downside for my business using E-Verify? Employers have found that using E-Verify decreases the number of job applicants they typically get. This leads to increased wage offerings, benefit offerings, etc. In other words, the cost of doing business goes up. If your competition isn’t using E-Verify, they will not experience the same increase in cost. The choice to use E-Verify will make it harder for you to compete.

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