E-Verify-The benefits and criticisms-August 2013 Edition of Saratoga Business Journal

E-verification is annoying and time consuming. In addition, the system has faced a barrage of criticism over the years for being flawed in its design and implementation. The system erroneously flags authorized workers, especially naturalized citizens and it has a difficult time identifying fraud, such as when undocumented immigrants use false papers to get hired. In addition, the associates that are flagged are rarely offered any opportunity to correct the situation. In addition, Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul has expressed concerns that the photo verification portion of the E-Verify system could lead National ID’s.

Even with the criticisms and our staff was very vocal with their opinions, my company and over 400000 other companies have voluntarily chosen to enroll in E-Verify.

Some background: the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services form. It is used by an employer to verify an employee’s identity and to establish that the worker is eligible to accept employment in the United States. E-Verify is an Internet-based, free program run by the United States government that compares information from an employee’s Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 to data from U.S. government records. If the information matches, that employee is eligible to work in the United States. If there is a discrepancy, E-Verify alerts the employer and the employee is allowed to work while he or she resolves the problem; they must contact the appropriate agency to resolve the issue within eight federal government work days from the referral date. The program is operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)in partnership with Social Security Administration.

So, given the criticism and the fact that E-Verify is currently voluntary for NYS employers, why would any company elect to add yet another time consuming requirement to the increasing list of required onboarding documents?

First, State and Federal regulations are clearly pointing toward E-Verify being required for all U.S. employers in the near future.  Currently 25 states have laws requiring E-verification and although NYS Sen. Chuck Schumer has been a vocal proponent of E-Verify, it is only a matter of time until it is rolled out as a federal regulation.

Second, on June 27, 2013, the United States Senate passed SB 744, a historic, broad, comprehensive immigration law reform package with, by today’s standards, a large majority; 68 votes in favor, including 14 key Republican senators. In SB 744 is a provision to roll out E-Verify nationally.  If this bill passes the house, every employer in the United States would be required to E-Verify all employees.

Finally, any company with federal contracts over $3000 is required to utilize E-Verify.

Our reason for electing to roll out E-Verify for the 175 associates we place in the Capital District on any given day was two-fold: we have federal contracts and we wanted to be ahead of the curve when this became nationally mandated.

That being said, I would recommend companies take a wait and see approach regarding E-Verification.  There’s no dipping your foot in the water on this, if you elect to start E-Verifying associates prior to it being mandated, you must E-Verify all associates.

You do have some time before you need to address these issues: House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan told a Wisconsin meeting that his chamber could start voting on the immigration bills in October.  But it is my feeling that sooner or later, every company will be required to E-Verify every associate. I am not an expert on this subject but if you have any questions about implementing E-Verification, please feel free to e-mail me at dyezzi@integratedstaffingcorp.com.

Although E-Verify is — in most instances — still voluntary, employers cannot enroll and then elect not to use the program. USCIS will note failure to use the program after enrolling as a red flag, resulting in increased scrutiny and possibly a non-compliance notice. If employers want to ease into the program, an acceptable approach is enrolling first at one, or a limited number, of hiring sites.

Although E-Verify is — in most instances — still voluntary, employers cannot enroll and then elect not to use the program. USCIS will note failure to use the program after enrolling as a red flag, resulting in increased scrutiny and possibly a non-compliance notice. If employers want to ease into the program, an acceptable approach is enrolling first at one, or a limited number, of hiring sites.

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