The E-Verify program gives employers a way to electronically verify whether newly hired employees are authorized to work in the United States. Participation in the program was initially voluntary, but changes at the federal, state, and local levels have made use mandatory under certain circumstances. For this and other reasons, employer enrollment in E-Verify is growing rapidly.
More than 530,000 employers are enrolled in the E-Verify program at more than 1.6 million worksites. More than 82 percent of these employers are considered small businesses, with 100 or fewer employees. In addition, more than 50,000 federal contractors currently use E-Verify. The biggest users of E-Verify are California, Georgia, Arizona, Texas, and Florida, and the program has seen a 20 percent usage growth in the last two years (around 18.8 million cases have been run through the program so far).
On June 22, E-Verify released three enhancements that make the verification process more efficient:
- Duplicate Case Alert will notify users if a Social Security Number (SSN) entered matches the SSN of an existing case previously entered within the last 30 days.
- The pre-populated ‘Employer Representative Name’ field requirement was removed from the Further Action Notice for Web service users. Employers must now fill in the blank field providing the name of the Employer Representative that initiated the case. Users may electronically or manually fill in this field.E-Verify will prompt users to validate or update their email and phone number when their password expires (every 90 days) to help ensure the system has the most updated contact information.
- The tutorials are now available in Arabic.
According to the program statistics, 98.8 percent of the queries run through E-Verify are automatically found work authorized and 1.19 percent get a tentative nonconfirmation (TNC) response.
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The program has made great strides in getting the percentage of TNC as small as possible. It went from .7 percent in 2005 to about .2 percent as of June 2014 and continues to close the gap by:
- Screening for potential typos and forcing employers to double check their input.
- Double checking naturalization data for cases in which naturalized citizens receive a TNC.
- Developing a photo tool that can extract a photo on record (from “green cards”, passports, naturalization records, etc.) that the employer can cross-reference with photo ID presented, ensuring the document presented matches the individual on record.
- Driver License validation (RIDE program). RIDE allows E-Verify to validate the authenticity of driver's licenses presented by employees as Form I-9 identity documents, decreasing the opportunity for document fraud. Florida joined RIDE in December 2012.
- If the system detects that a Social Security number has been used fraudulently, the number will be flagged and prevented from being used in the future without due process to ensure the true owner’s identification.
- Improved telephone and customer relationship management systems.
- Direct emailing of TNC notices to employees who present their email address on Form I-9.
- Offering bilingual or multilingual resources. Notices are available in 17 languages.
- Monthly webinars in Spanish covering I-9 issues and E-Verify for employers.
E-Verify Use Affords No Presumption of Compliance
Unfortunately, as mentioned in our June 2 blog, Employers: Are You at Risk for Immigration and I-9 Audits?, participation in E-Verify does not protect good faith employers from enforcement actions and the imposition of civil penalties for I-9 violations. Moreover, employers who sign up to use E-Verify sign a memorandum of understanding that they are not exempt from the responsibility of completing, retaining, and making available for inspection forms I-9 that relate to their employees.
Image source: www.uscis.gov