E-Verify Advantages and Disadvantages


Emptech's founder, Jeff Aleixo


Jeffrey Aleixo

E-Verify advantages and disadvantages, I-9 compliance

E-Verify is a free internet-based system run by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to help employers determine the employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security numbers. It was established in 1997 as a pilot program to prevent people who have violated immigration laws from legally procuring employment.

Through E-Verify, employers create cases based on information in the employee’s Form I-9. The purpose of Form I-9 is to obtain documentation from a new employee that can be used to verify their identity and work authorization. On the other hand, E-Verify takes the data from these documents, compares them to federal databases, and determines whether the employee’s documentation is viable.

As such, E-Verify protects employers from civil and criminal penalties relating to the hiring of undocumented workers. However, while there are many E-Verify advantages, employers should weigh both the benefits and weaknesses that come with enrolling in E-Verify before deciding to do so. What may seem like an easy way to ensure the proper work authorization of employees may actually create significant human and financial costs.

Understanding the E-Verify Process

E-Verify works by simultaneously linking to numerous federal agencies to confirm the identity, Social Security Number, and employment eligibility of any prospective employee. If the provided information matches up with federal databases, E-Verify returns a positive result and the employer can assume their employee is properly authorized. If not, further action is necessary.

Discrepancies between the given documentation and federal databases result in a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC). This obliges employers to inform the employee in private and allow them a chance to contest the TNC. If the employee chooses not to contest the TNC, or if DHS sends a Final Nonconfirmation result, which asserts that the employee’s work authorization cannot be confirmed, the employer may terminate the employee.

E-Verify, unlike Form I-9, is voluntary for most employers, though there are exceptions. They include federal employees, federal contractors, and employees in some states. Using E-Verify establishes a rebuttable presumption that an employer has not knowingly employed an unauthorized worker, but this presumption may similarly be achieved through the proper completion of a Form I-9.

Depending on the particular circumstances and the type of business, E-Verify may or may not make sense for some employers. Thus, prior to enrolling in E-Verify, employers should consider conducting an internal I-9 audit, review their current procedure for employment verification and weigh the E-Verify advantages and disadvantages.

Use this detailed guide to effectively manage every step of I-9 verification, from Form I-9 review to terminating employees unable to document their employment eligibility.

E-Verify Advantages

The idea behind E-Verify is to simplify the process of checking employee eligibility and ensure that businesses comply with all federal hiring regulations. Apart from providing interactive training, error checking, usage reports, and dedicated customer service, there are other E-Verify advantages.

E-Verify is a quick way of receiving an initial determination of a new employee’s authorization to work. Although the program does not provide complete immunity, it does create a rebuttable presumption that the employer has not violated INA section 274A(a)(1)(A) (Unlawful Employment of Aliens). Also, if an employer hires a foreign national who recently received a degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, voluntary usage of the E-Verify program may make those new employees eligible to work an additional 17 months before the employer is required to file an H1-B petition on their behalf. Furthermore, E-Verify helps employers maintain a compliant workforce as it quickly verifies the employment eligibility and almost eliminates Social Security mismatch letters.

One of the biggest E-Verify advantages is that it is a free, easy-to-use internet-based system as employers can access it anytime, and anywhere directly from a web browser to instantly verify the employment eligibility of an employee. Finally, there have been efforts on the federal level to make E-Verify mandatory nationwide. Should this happen, those employers who have already been using E-Verify will already be familiar with the program.

E-Verify Disadvantages

Despite different E-Verify advantages, participation in this program does not protect employers from I-9 compliance audits or prevent the possibility of immigration raids. One of the E-Verify disadvantages is potential mismatch problems that carry a risk of false non-confirmations and expose employers to legal actions. To prevent this, employers need to provide proper notice and instructions for contesting a Tentative Non-Confirmation.

While E-Verify is free, employers need to dedicate time and resources to training and supervising staff to use the system and deal with the results of queries. This may not be a significant issue for large businesses, but in the case of smaller ones, any additional regulatory burden can dramatically limit productivity over time. Also, employers may not use the program intermittently.

Finally, enrolling in E-verify may lead to government audits of employer workforce data and, in the event of non-compliance through mistakes or missing deadlines, result in fines to the company. In other words, voluntarily entering information into this database increases the risk that the employer may be investigated and fined for intentional or unintentional violations.

Why Should Companies Take the E-Verify and I-9 Processes Seriously

E-Verify is a valuable tool for confirming that employees are authorized to work in the U.S, and with the potential for this program to become mandatory for all employers, now is the time to consider any immigration problems. E-Verify’s convenience, speed, and reassurance on the one side, as well as potential liability arising from information sharing, indicate that employers need to consider both E-Verify advantages and disadvantages before deciding whether to enroll.

The fact remains that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has increased enforcement of work authorization requirements, demanding more companies than ever to submit to I-9 audits and E-Verify compliance. This should encourage employers to refine all policies regarding recruitment, Form I-9 training, independent audits and verifications, internal investigations, and termination procedures for employees found to be unauthorized. Also, failure to comply in this regard can be significantly reduced by outsourcing I-9 verification. This ensures efficient completion and storage of the Form I-9, eliminating paper forms that can be difficult to manage and internally audit while eliminating the risk of errors and audit fines.

Ensure compliance with immigration regulations with a solution for automating the completion, signature, storage & tracking of I-9 Forms and E-Verify.
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