In an ongoing trend in HR management and employment law compliance, paper filing is being nudged out by electronic options. Verifying the employment eligibility of new employees is no exception. Rather than swap one for the other, however, E-Verify combines the I-9 form with an online service – a process that makes sense for more and more employers.
Basically, E-Verify is a free, internet-based system operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to confirm a new employee’s work authorization status. It runs a cross-check of each employee’s I-9 information against records in the DHS and Social Security Administration databases to verify the individual is legally authorized to work in the United States.
In support of the Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA), E-Verify strives to:
- Reduce the employment of unauthorized workers
- Prevent verification-related discrimination
- Minimize the administrative work for employers
- Protect workers’ privacy and civil liberties
How E-verify works
It’s important to note that E-Verify is not a substitute for the I-9 forms; rather, it’s used in tandem with your I-9 documentation procedures. Every new hire must complete section 1 of the I-9 form on or before their first day of work. You then review the appropriate documentation within three days of the employee’s start date and certify on the form that you’ve done an in-person review, that the documents appear genuine and they’re tied to the employee you’ve hired.
Now it’s time to use E-Verify, pulling information from sections 1 and 2 of the I-9 to start an E-Verify search. (Please note: Like the I-9 form, you can’t use E-Verify for applicants; you have to wait until an employee has accepted an actual job offer.)
Most employers are pleasantly surprised at how fast the system works. On average, you receive an initial response of work authorization within 3-5 seconds. Of all the employees who are checked through the system, 98.8% of work-authorized employees are confirmed instantly or within 24 hours, requiring no further action from you or the employee.
Who’s using E-Verify
More than 500,000 companies now use E-Verify. Although certain employers are required to participate (depending on the state and/or type of business), about 1/3 of all participants do so voluntarily. And many of these participants are small businesses. Including both mandatory and voluntary participants, about 23% of users have fewer than 20 employees. About 35% are companies with 20-99 employees, and about 30% are companies with 100-499 employees. That means almost 90% of the users are companies with fewer than 500 employees.
Stay on top of posting requirements
Are you already taking advantage of E-Verify for faster, more accurate employment eligibility verification? Whether you’re using E-Verify voluntarily or because it’s mandatory, you must display two posters for compliance: the E-Verify Poster and the Right to Work Poster. Both posters must appear in English and Spanish, and they must be displayed where applicants and employees can see them.