U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States. Since 1986, employers have been required to complete Form I-9 for every new hire. That process includes reviewing documents that show the new hire’s identity and employment eligibility.
The 1986 law also created an Internet-based system that gives employers a way to check their new hires against government databases. Formerly known as the “Basic Pilot Program,” E-Verify is the best way to ensure a legal workforce.
Although E-Verify is currently voluntary for the most part, a growing number of states now require employers to use it to qualify for business or professional licenses, or to receive a public (government) contract. E-Verify participation is also required for all federal contracts.
To use E-Verify, an employer must create an account, complete several tutorials about how the system works, and pass a mastery test to begin verifying new hires. It’s not ‘rocket science,’ but an employer will spend a significant amount of time setting it all up.
Best option: An E-Verify Employer Agent
Thankfully, E-Verify allows you to hire an “Employer Agent” to conduct verifications on your behalf. An Employer Agent is usually a private company that you can hire to “do E-Verify” for you.
That’s what we are– one of the oldest Employer Agents in the nation, authorized by the Department of Homeland Security since 2007 to verify your new hires on your behalf. We study the initial and update tutorials and take the required mastery tests so that you can concentrate on your business. We send you the E-Verify-issued Company ID number (known by some state laws as the “federal work authorization user identification number”) that you will need to prove compliance with federal, state and local laws and qualify for public contracts.
When you hire a new employee–
The completion of the I-9 form is essentially the same for an E-Verify employer except:
- You must require the new hire to provide a Social Security number;
- A “List B” document (driver’s license, identification card, etc.) must bear a photograph;
- If the new hire presents, as his identification document, a U.S. Passport, Permanent Resident Card or Employment Authorization Document, you must make a copy and attach to the I-9 form.
After you and the new employee complete the I-9 form, you simply fax or scan/email it to us. We return a verification response by email, usually within a couple of hours. You will write the Verification Number on the employee’s I-9 form and file as usual.
For new hires who present a U.S. Passport, Permanent Resident Card or Employment Authorization Document, we are required to match the photo on the document with the photo on file with DHS or USCIS. In those cases, you will need to send us an image of the document with the I-9 form.
On the rare occasion (approximately 3% of the submissions) that we receive any response other than “Employment Authorized,” we will provide the paperwork and the guidance that you will need to resolve the issue with your employee. You can also find additional information in the Support Center, available to our clients.
Primary restrictions and concerns–
Your agreement with the Department of Homeland Security sets the guidelines for using E-Verify*. Most restrictions are designed to protect you from charges of employment discrimination. Among other restrictions:
- You may not submit an individual for verification until after they have accepted the job and completed the I-9 form. In other words, you cannot pre-screen potential employees;
- You may not selectively verify new hires. You must verify every new hire from the date that you enroll in E-Verify;
- You must submit new hires for verification within three days of their beginning work for pay;
- You are prohibited from, and cannot be required to, verify current employees (those hired prior to enrollment in E-Verify). There is an exception for federal contractors;
- You may not terminate an employee based solely on a “Tentative Non-Confirmation” response. You must follow the established procedure for resolving these cases;
- If a “Final Non-Confirmation” is received, you are prohibited by federal law from continuing to employ that worker.
If you have additional questions, please contact us. To begin the enrollment process, click here.