What is E-Verify and How Does it Affect Me?
Immigration and legal work status is a hot-button topic these days. Nobody likes talking about it, and yet it’s a very important discussion that needs to be had with employees. Whenever someone is hired for a job, that new employee needs to fill out an I-9 form (Employment Eligibility Verification). How does an employer make sure that all the information is correct? How does the employer ensure that the employee is being truthful?
Nobody wants to say, “Hey, are you eligible to work in the United States?” That’s just awkward for everyone and kills the conversation.
Federal employers, as well as some states, are required by law to use a system called E-Verify. This is an internet-based verification system that collects the data from an individual’s form I-9 and compares it to data on record with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.
Florida currently requires state agencies and contractors to use this system. Many proponents feel this streamlines a tumultuous process and lessens employers’ potential liability (after all, this would provide them more peace of mind and let them know within 30 seconds whether they have hired a legal worker, or “employment authorized” worker). It also allows some foreign students to obtain extensions of employment authorization periods without filing H-1B petitions.
What are the Downsides to E-Verify?
Even computers can still make mistakes. While unlikely, computers are still run by humans, and humans are fallible. Additionally, the process must be completed by the third day after an employee’s hiring, which means that an employer without reliable internet access would be at a detriment. People also just forget things or get caught up in other paperwork; things slide by. You start doing other projects… and whoops, you’re past the deadline. Then you get hit with penalties.
Technically, E-Verify isn’t free because your company is investing time into it. You have to train employees to use the system and run queries. You are also providing information to the Government that they would not otherwise have access to unless they datamined those specific I-9 forms.
Nobody wants ICE coming into their office, so it pays to be on the up-and-up with the latest employment law technology. However, firms should weigh the pros and cons, as well as run an employment audit on their own to see if they need to invest in this technology.