It is illegal for companies to employ anyone who is not authorized to work in the United States. Employers who learn the E-Verify basics and enroll will be using the best tool available to ensure a legal workforce.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
E-Verify is the most effective way for employers to ensure that their new hires are authorized to work in the U.S. E-Verify is not without its hassles but, by enrolling through the right E-Verify Employer Agent, employers can minimize and even eliminate the headaches.
About E-Verify Employer Agent – Verify I-9
Verify I-9 LLC is one of the oldest Employer Agents in the nation, authorized by the Department of Homeland Security since 2007 to verify your new hires on your behalf. We send you the E-Verify-issued Company ID number (known by some state laws as the “federal work authorization user identification number“) that you will need to prove compliance with federal, state and local laws and qualify for public contracts. We manage your E-Verify participation with no tutorials; no tests; no logins; and no headaches. We make E-Verify easy!