Every employer in the U.S. must fill out I-9 forms for new hires, but not all organizations are familiar with the related E-Verify process. Currently, E-Verify is only required for employers in select states, counties, cities, and for federal contactors.
What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is an online system that compares information from an employee’s I-9 form against data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration records to confirm an individual’s eligibility to work in the United States.
Although E-Verify is not a national requirement, state and federal legislative trends indicate that this process may be mandated for all employers in the future. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in 2010 alone, 1,180 new immigration bills were introduced in 45 states.
In June 2011, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduced the Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 2164), a bill that would require all U.S. employers to use E-Verify. Furthermore, the E-Verify process helps prevent employers from hiring individuals without U.S. work authorization, which could result in substantial penalties. Fines against employers for employing unauthorized workers have surpassed $76 million since 2009.
Common E-Verify Solutions
Today companies have two options for completing the E-Verify process. A company may directly use the DHS’s online E-Verify system, which requires extensive training for all personnel using the system. Employers using the E-Verify site must also carefully scan and maintain required employee documentation, monitor and meet strict deadlines, comply with various state and federal laws and comply with anti-discrimination laws.
The second option is to use a third party provider to assist with the E-Verify process. To save time and reduce the potential for errors, employers can complete E-Verify as part of an electronic I-9 solution, which completes an electronic I-9 form and simultaneously begins the E-Verify process.
Benefits of E-Verify as Part of an I-9 Solution
Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of completing E-Verify as part of an integrated I-9 solution:
1. Increased Efficiency
Using an electronic I-9 solution with a seamless E-Verify integration allows one-time data entry. The required data that is entered into the I-9 form will be automatically submitted to the E-Verify system, without any additional data entry work from the employer.
In a mid- to large-sized organization, with a healthy hiring program, eliminating half of the data entry work can save a substantial amount of time and cut down on human error.
2. Seamless E-Verify Photo-Matching and Paperless Documentation
E-Verify recently introduced photo-matching functionality for certain documents that are presented for employment verification. As part of the E-Verify process, employers are required to compare the photo in the employee’s document to the photo displayed in the E-Verify system when certain documents are presented.
If the document is subject to photo matching, employers are required to retain a copy of the document after completing the E-Verify case. An employer must have a system in place to recognize documents that are required for photo matching, retain a copy, and file the copies in the event of an audit.
With HireRight’s automated Form I-9 system, hiring personnel are alerted when a document is presented that is subject to E-Verify photo matching, and a scanned copy of the document can be uploaded to store along with the electronic I-9 form. Compared to a manual process, the paperless Form I-9 process is quicker, reduces human error, and makes document retrieval more efficient in the event of an audit.
3. Built-In Compliance Checks
There are several employment eligibility verification compliance requirements that commonly cause problems for employers. For example, both the I-9 form and E-Verify case must be completed within three days after an employee’s start date.
Additionally, employees with temporary work authorization must be re-verified in a timely manner, and there are strict discrimination rules surrounding the entire process. A common mistake during the re-verification process is to run E-Verify a second time. However, after initial E-Verify verification, there is no requirement to complete the verification again through E-Verify.
An electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solution has built-in notifications and data validation to help personnel to comply with regulations to help avoid costly fines in the event of an audit. For example, many electronic systems send out e-mail notifications for expiring documents. Also, when verifying an employee, the system will not accept expired documents.
4. Ability to Respond to Auditors
In the event of an audit by ICE, a company will be issued a Notice of Inspection (NOI). A NOI can be issued at any time, even on a holiday, and the business must prepare for the audit within three business days of the notice.
With some electronic solutions, the E-Verify case number is electronically posted on the I-9 form. Management reporting is also available to provide the date the E-Verify case was submitted, and track the reason given if the E-Verify case was submitted late. With an electronic I-9 and E-Verify solution in place, companies faced with a Form I-9 audit will have I-9 forms, E-Verify case numbers, audit trails, and all supporting documents digitized and readily accessible.
An automated I-9 solution with an E-Verify component can reduce many of the headaches of competing I-9 forms and then doing duplicate data entry for E-Verify. What’s your company’s experience with the E-Verify process? Are you prepared for potentially mandatory E-Verify requirements?
Free White Paper: Effectively Managing I-9 Employment Eligibility in the Face of Changing Legislation
Discover the best practices of a compliant Form I-9 and E-Verify program by downloading:
Effectively Managing I-9 Employment Eligibility in the Face of Changing Legislation