Some of the most challenging aspects of being an employer relate to the hiring process. Trying to find and keep the most skillful applicants is a daunting task. Finding applicants with a clean, and sometimes just acceptable, record takes time too. Lastly, when hiring foreign applicants, being able to verify their immigration status is a must. This is mainly to avoid having legal altercations with the US government. This is where the E-Verify system comes in.
This internet-based system is one of the US government tools that ensure workers are legally authorized to get a job in the country. While mainly volunteer, E-Verify compares information on an applicant’s Form I-9 to the records of the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. This way, we are sure we are meeting federal employment requirements and policies.
What Exactly is E-Verify and How Does It Work?
As we mentioned above, E-Verify is an internet-based system of employment verification that the US government started implementing in 1996. The main goal of this system is to prevent employers from hiring immigrants without the proper authorization to work. E-Verify compares information from Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification with the records of the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. This way, employers make sure all their staff members have the proper authorization and legal documents to fulfill any job vacancy.
Advantages of Using E-Verify
There are several advantages that come from using the E-Verify system. The main one is that such a process will help employers avoid hiring and training individuals who might not be eligible for employment. This ensures that employers don’t have to go through several legal inconveniences and penalties. Besides, the early use of E-Verify will make it easier for employers and staff to become familiar with it. This is because it might eventually become mandatory nationwide, as now it is only voluntary.
Another advantage is that we can extend the employment time of applicants who are qualified and legally eligible to work. When we hire international employees and submit their information through E-Verify, their working periods can be of up to 17 months. This saves us the trouble of having to file petitions of H-1B visas.
Disadvantages of Using E-Verify
Despite the benefits that it brings, there are also disadvantages we might want to consider. The main one is the fact that E-Verify is not absolutely accurate. Even when its error rate is quite small, the system is not perfect yet. According to the National Immigration Forum, in 2017 the system returned only 1.1 percent of the submitted applications as Tentative Non-Confirmation. This means that from 34,853,666 cases, the system marked as TNC a total of 383,390. The real number of confirmed negatives ended up in 52,280 cases only.
Using this system can also increase the chances of facing liability and privacy litigation against employers. Particularly in erroneous cases, applicants could take legal action against employers, accusing them of discrimination and failing to provide them with proper notice of E-Verify results. This is why we must make sure we understand the process completely before using the system.