Should Employers Use E-verify?
E-Verify is an internet-based system operated by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA). E-Verify provides an automated link to federal databases to help employers determine employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security numbers.
E-Verify gives companies peace of mind in ensuring that employees are legal US workers. According to USCIS, E-Verify’s most impressive features are its speed and accuracy. This is because it verifies the employees data against millions of government records and provides results within seconds.
E-Verify is not mandatory for all employers. There are some states that do require employers to use E-Verify. There are also visa programs that require the employer to be registered before being eligible to sponsor a foreign worker. For instance, an F-1 visa holder seeking a 17-month extension of his Optional Practical Training (OPT) can only do so if he is to be employed by an E-Verify registered employer.
There are some benefits to using the system. Speed is the most important. There is no need to wait for a Social Security mismatch letter to determine if there is a problem with the new employee’s Social Security number. Those who do not have work authorization can easily be identified at the point of hire.
There are also perceived disadvantages to the system. Some people say that it is too easy to defraud E-Verify with stolen or fake identity papers. Identity thieves can use a legitimate Social Security number to get an E-Verify approval. Some employers are worried about the government intrusion into their private affairs. By participating in E-Verify, employers are agreeing to submit to audits by USCIS and SSA.
Participation in the program requires employers to comply with the terms and conditions of the program and failure to observe them will result in liability for the employer. Some employers are wary of possible litigation. There have been reports of false non-confirmations due to mistakenly matched Social Security numbers which have resulted in legal actions against employers.
To learn more about employment eligibility and immigrant visas, please contact Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo, LLC at (888) 847-2529.