What is E-Verify and how does it work? “E-Verify is a web-based system that allows enrolled employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States,” according to e-verify.gov. This program makes it much easier for employers to verify that new employees are allowed to work in the U.S. because the system does it for them electronically.
What happens is an employer will enroll in E-Verify. When they have a new employee, all the employer has to do is log in to E-Verify, enter the new hire’s information provided on his or her Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, and E-Verify will verify the new employee’s information by comparing it to the records on file at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Is E-Verify a Mandatory Program?
For the most part, E-Verify is a voluntary program; however, if an employer has a federal contract or subcontract that contains the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause, then the employer cannot maintain the federal contract unless it enrolls in E-Verify.
Some states require that employers use E-Verify, otherwise they cannot obtain a business license. Additionally, some employers are required by law to participate because they are subject to a legal ruling.
E-Verify is available all throughout the U.S., the District of Columbia, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is also available in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. According to the DHS, E-Verify is the best way for U.S. employers to verify that someone is eligible to work in the U.S., plus it protects employers against hiring people who cannot work in the country legally.
If an employer fails to verify employment and they hire an illegal immigrant, the employer potentially faces the following consequences:
- Civil fines
- They will be barred from government contracts
- Criminal charges (when there is a pattern of violations)