E-Verification Compliance for Business Owners
Undocumented employees hold over 7 million jobs in the United States. By employing individuals from this category, employers can ignore labor laws such as age restrictions, minimum wage, and acceptable working conditions with little risk of repercussions. It is for these and many other reasons that employers are required by law to verify that each of their employees are authorized to work in the U.S. Each employee, whether a native born U.S. Citizen or a foreign visitor on a work visa, must have an I-9 form on file with the employer in case the federal government needs documentation of their work eligibility.
In Arizona, and a number of other states, the employer is not only required to ensure an I-9 form is completed for each new worker, the information from the completed I-9 must also be entered into the Immigration Service’s E-Verify program. Please note, E-Verify can only be used for newly-hired employees. Employers are not allowed to use the E-Verify system to “check out” the status of existing employees (except under special circumstances authorized by law).
E-Verify is an online program that searches the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration databases to find information about employees and if they are legally able to work for an employer. Over 400,000 employers use this method to confirm their employees’ work eligibility because it is easy and in most cases instant. Some states and federal employment contracts require employers to use E-Verify to confirm that their employees can work for them.
To start using E-Verify, you must first enroll your company in the system and register those who will use E-Verify. Once the employee completes the I-9, the employer may enter this information into the E-Verify system. This information must be entered within three days after employment begins.
According to the Immigration Service, the system is user friendly and reliably accurate. Simply create a case, enter the required information from the employee’s I-9, and close the case when the system verifies the employee’s eligibility. If E-Verify encounters an error, it will guide the user on how to fix the error and verify the employee. For added security, E-Verify asks users to match the photograph on file in these databases with the photograph the employee presented for identification.
There are two ways to access the E-Verify system website. You may go to the Department of Homeland Security website at www.dhs.gov/e-verify or the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website at www.uscis.gov/e-verify. The E-Verify website provides a more detailed description of E-Verify and instructions on setting up and using the system. Each section is divided into categories to help users find what they need quickly. Along with providing online tutorials, web seminars, an extensive FAQ, and a glossary, E-Verify offers customer support via telephone or email.
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