What is E-Verify Exactly?
E-Verify is an online database and service managed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). E-Verify helps companies confirm whether people are eligible to work in the United States. Employers are often surprised to learn how many job seekers (skilled and unskilled) falsify W-9 (independent contractors) or I-9 information. Employers that fail to verify employees’ authorization to work in the United States can face government fines and other penalties. E-Verify helps businesses avoid unintentionally hiring people not authorized to work.
How Does E-Verify Work?
The E-Verify database is a free service with support from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Employers or their agents enroll in the program and register authorized users. Whenever a new employee is hired, both employer and employee complete the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form. E-Verify compares the I-9 information with previous records managed by the SSA and USCIS. It typically takes three days to receive confirmation on eligibility. The program is not mandatory, but some states have passed legislation requiring companies enroll in the program.
If you are an employer and wish to take advantage of this free service, visit the E-Verify employer page to enroll. You may submit names (or cases) through your E-Verify account under the following conditions:
- You have already offered a job to a candidate
- The candidate has accepted the job offer
- No later than three days after an employee begins working
Does E-Verify Count as a Background Check?
E-Verify should not be considered a comprehensive background check. Information on a background check is typically much more thorough than what E-Verify cases provide. For employers seeking background checks, it’s vital to secure prior consent from job applicants. Additionally, while there are time limitations on when you can submit a name/case to E-Verify (the three days rule), there are no time constraints on running background checks.
Most quality background checks can verify an individual’s social security information, which helps confirm work eligibility. In essence, a background check can accomplish what E-Verify does, with the added bonus of civil, criminal, motor vehicle and other records.
Employers use E-Verify to confirm a new employee’s eligibility because it is free and it’s required by law in some states under certain conditions. For example, if your business contracts with the U.S. Federal Government, your contract may stipulate that you are required to use E-Verify in your I-9 new hire process.
Currently, New York state does not require employers to use E-Verify to confirm employment eligibility with new hires. However, as of August 2008 Suffern Village has mandated E-Verify be used by local employers. In addition, New York City has made it difficult for companies to do background checks until a job offer is sent. The advantage of E-Verify is that it can be done prior to that, and companies are able to confirm that employees are qualified before getting to the final phase of the hiring process.
Connecticut is one of twenty-four states that does not mandate E-Verify use. However, if your Connecticut company is contracted for work, the company that hired you may stipulate in their agreement an obligation to use E-Verify with any new hires.
New Jersey is another state that does not mandate E-Verify for employers. However, it is again vital that New Jersey employers working as contractors examine their contractor agreement for any E-Verify requirements.
In 2012, Pennsylvania passed the Public Works Employment Verification Act that took effect in 2013. Under the law, Pennsylvania employers working as a contractor or subcontractor for any public works projects are required by law to use E-Verify. Essentially, if any of your work has been commissioned by a city, county or state organization in Pennsylvania, you are mandated to use E-Verify to confirm eligibility for any new hires. To quote the act:
The [Pennsylvania] Department [of General Services’ Public Works Employment Verification Compliance Program] defines a “Public Work” to be construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration and/or repair work other than maintenance work, done under contract and paid for in whole or in part out of the funds of a public body where the estimated cost of the total project is in excess of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) but shall not include work performed under a rehabilitation or manpower training program.
How Outsourcing Your Recruiting Can Simplify Employment Eligibility Requirements
Even though your state may not require E-Verify, it’s important that employers understand their liability for falsified I-9 information. Additionally, even companies that conduct background checks with employee consent could face legal issues or public scrutiny for missed information. Hiring compliance is a complex issue that can have a real impact on a business.
Many employers choose to outsource recruiting to companies like the Goodkind Group. Assistance from hiring experts is invaluable when dealing with hiring process legal compliance. The Goodkind Group can help your business find top talent and ensure you are meeting your state’s E-Verify laws. The Goodkind Group can also make sure that your background screening process doesn’t violate any anti-discrimination laws.
For more information about how The Goodkind Group can help, contact us today at (212) 378-0700 or visit our website.