In the last session of congress the US House of Representatives approved the reauthorization of the E-Verify program for three more years. E-Verify is administered by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration. It is a web based program that allows employers to verify that a worker is authorized to work in the United States.
As part of House S 3245, in addition to extending the E-Verify program for three years the immigrant visa programs set to exprire would remain active. Even though bill passed the house the legislation is pending and will not be dealt with until after the election.
In 2011 the US Supreme Court upheld Arizona's 2007 employment verification law requiring businesses to use the Federal E-Verify System. The ruling paved the way for other states to implement E-Verify laws.
Companies using the E-Verify program can reduce exposure to DHS violations and fines. If a company shows a good faith effort to hire individuals authorized to work in the US, they will not be held liable by the Department fo Homeland Security (DHS). A key component to showing the good faith effort and avoiding fines is using the E-Verify System.
For many states, there is a safe harbor provisions that allows companies to avoid liability. For states that have an E-Verify requirements, a knowing violation can result in a company being responsible for back-taxes, penalties and interest. However, as with the DHS if you can demonstrate the same good faith effort to verify an employees eligibility to work in the US by using the E-verify system and maintaining good hiring records you can be sheltered from liability.
Here is the downside to using the E-Verify System:
- It takes time to enroll in the E-Verify System and to check each employee's eligibility
- There are some glitches in the system with some inaccurate data
- If a company hires an indvidual who fails the E-Verify process, the system documents the company's noncompliance. Unless the company is committed to to disqualifying unverified job candidates, they probably should not use the system.
- The information obtained by DHS can also be used for I-9 audits and/or worksite investigations.
- Good record keeping and hiring procedures are critical for every company regardless of whether you have one employee or ten thousand employees. Failure to comply or show complaince through good record keeping leaves the company susceptible to fines and penalties.
- The E-Verify System and having properly filled out I9s on file are two ways for employers to protect themselves from placing undocumented workers on their payroll.
To assist you we have compiled an E-Verify Guide. The Guide shows the states that require companies to use the E-verify System.
Last month, North Carolina joined a growing list of states that require or will eventually require employers to use the Federal E-Verify system to check an employees Social Security number at the time of hire.
The NC law passed the legislation on June 18, 2011 and was signed into law by Governor Perdue on June 23, 2011.
What is E-Verify
The program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration, and was set-up as a voluntary program for employers. The E-Verify system allows employers, via access to an on-line system, to verify that a worker is authorized to work in the United States.
Phase-In for New NC Law
The law will be phased in over the next three years. Currently state agencies and universities are using the E-verify system. Listed below are the phase in dates for other NC businesses and public employers to use the E-Verify System.
- October 1, 2011 - Municipal and county workers.
- October 1, 2012 - Employers with more than 500 employees
- January 1, 2013 - Employers with more than 100 employees but less than 500 employees
- July 1, 2013 - Employers with more than 25 employees but less than 100 employees.
E-Verify Requirement Spreading Throughout Country
In spring of this year, the US Supreme Court upheld Arizona's 2007 employment verification law requiring businesses to use the federal E-Verify System. This ruling paved the way for other states to move forward with their E-Verify laws.
In addition, a bill, put forth by Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), to make E-Verify mandatory for all employers throughout the US is currently being considered for approval by the US House Judicial Committee. If approved by the House Judicial Committee the bill would move to floor of the US House of Representatives for consideration and launch a national debate on the matter.
While this is considered and debated at the federal level, states are moving ahead with their E-Verify laws. Just this year alone nine additional states have already passed new laws that will phase-in some type of E-Verify requirements for employers.
Human Resouces Compliance Critical for Businesses
As additional requirements, such as this, are implemented, It will be important for the Human Resources (HR) departments of companies to maintain good accurate record keeping. Failure to comply with requirements such as a states E-Verify requirements or the federal I9 requirement, will result in fines and could lead to criminal charges.
The E-Verify and I9 requirement are two ways for employers to protect themselves from hiring and placing undocumented workers on their payroll. Good record keeping and documentation showing compliance will eliminate unnecesaary problems for you as an employer.
To assist you we have compiled a Guide to E Verify. In the guide we include all the states that currently require or will be phasing in E verify requirements. Just click the button below to obtain your free E Verify Guide.