Perhaps you’ve been told by a city or county that you must enroll in the E-Verify program to renew your business license. Or you just landed a big government contract and learned that E-Verify is required. Or maybe you’ve just read about E-Verify in the news and were curious about what it is.
This article will explain everything you need to know about E-Verify as you decide whether or not the program is right for your business; if you will enroll in it; and which enrollment option is best for your business.
In this article
It starts with Form I-9
It is illegal for companies to employ anyone who is not authorized to work in the United States. Since 1986, employers have been required to use Form I-9 to verify work authorization of every new hire. To complete Form I-9, the employer must review documents that show the new hire’s identity and employment eligibility and record them on the form.
A short history of E-Verify
The 1986 law also authorized government agencies to create an Internet-based system that employers can use to check their new hires against government databases. Finally going live for employers nationwide in 2007, E-Verify is extremely effective in detecting unauthorized workers.
Who must use E-Verify
Although E-Verify is currently voluntary on the federal level except for federal contractors and employers of students in the STEM OPT program, a growing number of states require employers to use it to qualify for business or professional licenses, or to receive a public (government) contract.
Conditions of E-Verify participation
E-Verify is not like a background check service that an employer can use occasionally or just for certain hires. The employer must sign an agreement to participate in E-Verify; the primary obligation of E-Verify participation is to verify all new hires for as long as the employer is enrolled.
How to enroll in E-Verify
Employers can enroll in E-Verify via one of two methods: either directly at the E-Verify.gov web site, or through an E-Verify Employer Agent (EEA). While both enrollment methods have the same basic obligations, there are significant differences between the two options.
Direct enrollment in E-Verify
Employers may choose to “do E-Verify” themselves. If you do it yourself, it won’t cost anything to enroll or to verify new hires. You will spend several hours, however, dealing with the federal government. You will submit basic company and contact info, then wait to be sent a temporary username and password. Employers report that it can take as long as three weeks to receive the login info after submitting company info. Every employee who will access the system must login to study several tutorials and pass a 31-question mastery test; after which they will receive the permanent login info needed to begin to verify new hires.
Then, you’re on your own; managing your own cases and hoping that you’re doing it right. It’s not rocket science; it’s just a huge hassle for which you may not have the time nor the manpower to do it yourself.
Best option: An E-Verify Employer Agent
Fortunately, E-Verify and all state laws allow you to hire an E-Verify Employer Agent to verify your new employees so that you can concentrate on your business. An Employer Agent is usually a private company that has an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security which allows the EEA to manage the E-Verify participation of its client employers.
Not all EEAs are the same, however. Some offer a software application; an interface with the E-Verify system with “value added.” Most offer document retention and the ability to complete Form I-9 electronically. The down-side with this type of EEA is that you still do most of the work and may have to sign a long-term contract to use the software.
Other Employer Agents manage your E-Verify participation almost in total. With the right Employer Agent, there are no tutorials to study; no mastery tests to pass. The best EEAs provide personal service, not only regarding E-Verify but also about Form I-9 in general. These EEAs may not save your I-9s “in the cloud” or support completing Form I-9 electronically, but are the best choice for employers who retain Form I-9 on paper or hire few new employees.
Finding a qualified E-Verify Employer Agent
The Department of Homeland Security does not require E-Verify Employer Agents to have any specific qualifications, training, knowledge, or experience. In truth, anyone can become authorized by the DHS to be an EEA. For this reason, employers must do their homework to ensure that the agency they choose is experienced and will be around for the long term.
Why you should hire us
Verify I-9, LLC is such an Employer Agent, able to conduct verifications on your behalf so that you can concentrate on your business. We serve thousands of client companies– large and small– from across the nation since 2007, making us one of the oldest and most experienced E-Verify services in the U.S.¹
It makes sense to outsource E-Verify. With our `No Headaches` plan, verification can be as simple as sending the I-9 to us by fax, email, or to be extremely safe, uploading it to our secure server. We return the verification, usually within an hour or two, by email. Most workers (over 98%) will be authorized immediately; however, a small percentage will require additional steps to achieve a final determination. We provide the documents that you’ll need and guide you through every step.