E-Verify for Employers

ALG Lawyers is proud to offer employers consulting and verification services using E-Verify.

What is E-Verify?

E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administers the program.

Free, safe, secure and simple to use, E-Verify is the best means available for determining employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security Numbers. The program provides participating employers an automated Internet-based resource to verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees. Participating employers run authorization checks on all newly hired employees, including US citizens and non-US citizens, against SSA and DHS databases (about 449 million, and 60 million records respectively). Through this process, E-Verify assists employers in maintaining a legal workforce and protects jobs for authorized US workers.

Why should I consider participating in E-Verify?

E-Verify is the best option for employers who want to electronically confirm the employment eligibility of their new hires. With E-Verify, the chances of mismatched Social Security Numbers or inaccurate wage and tax reports are significantly reduced. Plus, participation in E-Verify ensures job protection for authorized US workers and a legal workforce.

What is an E-Verify Designated Agent?

E-Verify Designated Agents are hired by employers to process and submit queries for their new employees. These agents can be hired by different clients or employers.

How does E-Verify work?

Information, like a Social Security Number, is verified by running a check through both SSA and DHS databases. In order to participate in E-Verify, employers are required to consent to the E-Verify MOU and complete the tutorial. Further instructions and information can be found in the User Manual.

What is required from employees for E-Verify?

In order to put in a query, the new employee must provide the employer with the following information:

  • Name and date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Citizenship status he attests to
  • A number or 1-94 number, if applicable
  • Documents needed to establish work authorization status
  • Identification and its expiration date, if applicable

When may an employer initiate an E-Verify query?

An employer may begin the query process once the job position has been accepted and the Form I-9 has been completed. The last day to submit a query is the end of the third business day since the new employee’s actual start date.

If the employee does not have a Social Security Number yet, an E-Verify query cannot be submitted. Instead on the Form I-9, be sure to state the reason for not yet processing a query. Meanwhile, the employee will be able to work temporarily even without a Social Security Number since his Employment Eligibility process will have been finished and work authorization verified. And as soon as the employee receives his Social Security Number, an E-Verify query can be submitted.

Which employees can be verified through the system?

Every employee that is hired since the employer signs the MOU must be verified. But verification of previously hired employees, employees with only a temporary work authorization is not allowed, and non-employees are not allowed.

Can I check the immigration status of a new hire?

No. Only the employee’s employment eligibility is verified by E-Verify.

Does participation in E-Verify provide safe harbor from worksite enforcement?

No. Worksite enforcement is imposed regardless of participation in E-Verify.

Do I Still Need Form I-9?

A Form I-9 is still required regardless of participation in E-Verify.

Employers are required to submit the following information once the Form I-9 is completed for their new employee:

  • Name and date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Citizenship status he attests to
  • A number or 1-94 number, if applicable
  • Documents needed to establish work authorization status
  • Identification and its expiration date, if applicable

Once the information is submitted, employers will receive a response at once to the initial query. If submitting documents on “List B” of Form I-9, a picture must be included.

Is E-Verify Mandatory?

No. For the majority of employers E-Verify participation is voluntary. However, mandatory participation is limited to Federal Government employers under the revision of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, which includes most of its contractors and even some sub-contractors.

For those federal government employers and those that are required to partake in E-Verify must enroll once the terms are put into effect. Once an employer registers with E-Verify, he is responsible to report to the DHS if any individual is given continued employment after the final receipt of a non-confirmation notice. The employer will not only be fined but may as well be put under civil monetary or civil sanctions.

The current E-Verify program does not allow employers to place queries for employees hired before enrolling in the E-Verify program. Yet, large contractors believe that adhering to this rule to be too difficult administratively due to their particular circumstances. Therefore, the Department of Defense and DHS have come up with a provision that allows employers a choice to verify every employee hired after November 6, 1986. However, this change in the E-Verify program has been postponed until September 8, 2009. This was a result of business members who filed a federal complaint against the DHS regarding the inaccuracies of E-Verify’s data. Both the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the US Chamber of Commerce have reservation concerning of E-Verify’s performance.

E-Verify: Pros and Cons

E-Verify is not recommended for all employers. It is suggested that employers receive consultation and carry out an internal I-9 audit before deciding to enroll in E-Verify. Employers should also consider the different states their business is conducted in, evaluate its existing verification process for employment eligibility, and the pros and cons of participating in E-Verify.

The Pros:

E-Verify offers immediate verification of employment eligibility and near-perfect matching of Social Security Numbers. By participating in E-Verify, employers are able to make state contracts, provide job protection for authorized US workers, and enjoy the benefit of the doubt that they unknowingly hired a worker unauthorized for employment.

The Cons:

By participating in E-Verify, employers are also consenting to periodic audits carried out by the SSA and DHS. There have been reports of false non-confirmations due to mistakenly matched Social Security Numbers which resulted in legal actions against employers. Participation puts the responsibility on the employers to commit to all of the program’s requirements and terms of use in which failure to do so will result in liability. The capacity of SSA to promptly handle confirmation issues and E-Verify’s technical capability to perform under a heavy load has not yet been determined.

What can ALG Lawyers do for my business?

As an employer, it is your responsibility to make sure your employees are legally authorized to work for you. Please call us to discuss your options and obligations under this government program. We provide full verification and consulting services under the E-verify program. Don’t wait until the government knocks on your door. Call us today.

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