What is E-Verify?

E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows an employer to determine an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States based on the employee’s information in form I-9. For most employers, the use of E-Verify is voluntary and is limited to determining the employment eligibility of new hire only. Employers must verify employees in a non-discriminatory manner and may not schedule the timing of queries based upon the new hire’s national origin, citizenship status, race, or other characteristic that is prohibited by U.S. law.

Who Must Use E-Verify?

There are three types of employers must use E-Verify:

  1. Federal contractors and subcontractors are required to E-Verify system starting to verify their employees’ eligibility to legally work in the United States. Federal contracts awarded and solicitations issued after September 8, 2009 will include a clause committing government contractors to use E-Verify. The same clause will also be required in subcontracts over $3,000 for services or construction. Contracts exempt from this rule include those that are for less than $100,000 and those that are for commercially available off-the-shelf items. Companies awarded a contract with the federal government will be required to enroll in E-Verify within 30 days of the contract award date. They will also need to begin using the E-Verify system to confirm that all of their new hires and their employees directly working on federal contracts are authorized to legally work in the United States.
  2. Certain employers who were in violation of immigration law and were ordered to use E-Verify.
  3. Employers who are required by State laws to use E-Verify.

What is the required timeframe for conducting an employment eligibility check on a newly hired employee?

The employer may initiate a query is after an an individual accepts an offer of employment and after the employee and employer complete the Form I-9. The employer must initiate the query no later than the end of three business days after the new hire’s actual start date.

How Does E-Verify Affect an Employee?

Federal law requires that all employers verify the identity and employment eligibility of all new employees (including U.S. citizens) within three days of hire. Under the law, employees are required to complete the Form I-9, and employees must provide employers with documentation establishing both identity and eligibility to work in the United States. The E-Verify system is established by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) to assist employers further in verifying the employment eligibility of all newly-hired employees. Through the E-Verify system, employers send information about the employee on Form I-9 to SSA and DHS to ensure that the employee is authorized to work in the United States and that the employee’s name, Social Security Number, date of birth, citizenship status, and any other non-citizen information the Form I-9 match government records.

What Are Employee’s Rights in E-Verify?

  • Employers must post a notice informing employees of their use of E-Verify.
  • E-Verify must be used for new hires only.
  • It cannot be used to verify the employment eligibility of current employees.
  • E-Verify must be used for all new hires regardless of national origin or citizenship status. It may not be used selectively.
  • E-Verify must be used only after hire and after completion of the Form I-9. Employers may not pre-screen applicants through E-Verify.
  • If an employee receives an information mismatch from their Form I-9 and SSA and DHS databases, the employer must promptly provide the employee with information about how to challenge the information mismatch, including a written notice generated by E-Verify.
  • If an employee decides to challenge the information mismatch, the employer must provide the person with a referral letter issued by E-Verify that contains specific instructions and contact information.
  • Employers may not take any adverse action against an employee because he/she contests the information mismatch. This includes firing, suspending, withholding pay or training, or otherwise infringing upon his/her employment. The employee must be given eight federal government work days to contact the appropriate federal agency to contest the information mismatch.
  • If an employee receives a SSA tentative non-confirmation, they have the option of visiting an SSA field office to update their record or if the employee is a naturalized citizen, the employee may choose to call USCIS directly to resolve the TNC. The phone number can be found on the SSA referral letter.
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