Whatever your position on the immigration debate, one thing is clear and unarguable: as an employer, it is your responsibility to verify that a new employee is eligible to work in the United States. Hiring ineligible workers can result in costly consequences, including fines, loss of business license, mandated management changes, and damage to your reputation.
E-Verify is a valuable tool designed to protect business owners from hiring employees who are not authorized to work in the United States. The following takes a closer look at E-Verify, exploring what it is, who is required to use it, and how it benefits your business.
What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is an electronic system designed to match data provided about an applicant on the I-9 Employment Eligibility Form with corresponding data contained in a federal database. Results are available most of the time within minutes and serve as an added measure of protection against hiring ineligible workers. E-Verify does not replace I-9 processes but rather reinforces them.
E-Verify Does Not:
- Determine immigration status
- Protect from I-9 violations liability
- Reinforce the presumption that your business did not knowingly hire an ineligible employee.
Who is Required to Use E-Verify?
Unless you are a federal contractor or subcontractor, participation in E-Verify is largely voluntary, though just over 20 states require at least some level of use. At this time, seven states—Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah—have passed E-Verify laws requiring employers to use the program. That said, the program is growing by leaps and bounds every year, and some prognosticators predict federally mandated participation in the near future.
How Does E-Verify Benefit Your Business?
E-Verify is free and simple to use. Once your business enrolls in the program, E-Verify technology takes mere minutes, and results are returned very quickly. Once a new employee begins work, you have three days to collect I-9 information and enter it into the E-Verify system. E-Verify software matches data on the I-9 form, including photos, with data from the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration to confirm the employee’s identity and work status.
Following an E-Verify Check, you will Get One of Three Notifications:
- An authorization to work
- A tentative non-confirmation (TNC), which generally means more information is needed
- A final non-confirmation (FNC), which means the employee is not eligible to work
Benefits of Using E-Verify Today Include the Following:
- Added measure of assurance that your workforce is legal
- Valuable deterrence against identity fraud among your applicant pool
- Critical compliance with applicable federal and state regulations
- Proactive adaptation of potential federal legislation, giving you time to get ahead of the game before penalties kick in
The best way to remain compliant is to take advantage of all the tools available. E-Verify is an important component of diligent compliance practices.