E-Verify: A Verification Mechanism for Recruitment

laptop that shows e-verify system

In the United States, an employer cannot just hire someone on a whim. They must verify that the person is suitable to be an employee. This is important to ensure public order and security in the country. To facilitate this, the E-Verify system has been developed. Let's take a look at what it is in general terms.

E-Verify is an internet-based system developed by the US Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. The employer enters the information of the person they want to employ into this system and checks the accuracy of their identity information and the existence of a work permit. In this way, the employer can know within seconds that they have hired legally.

An employer must always fill out Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, when hiring a new employee. It does not matter whether the new hire is an American citizen or not. Form I-9 must be completed by both the employer and the worker. In this form, the worker provides the necessary information and documents about his/her identity and work authorization. However, employers may not always be able to verify the accuracy of the information on this form on their own. With the E-Verify system, employers can verify the accuracy of this information electronically within seconds.

Differences between E-Verify and I-9 Form

Although the E-Verify system uses data from the I-9 Form, there are some differences between the two:

  • The I-9 Form is mandatory if a person is to be hired. E-Verify is not mandatory "as a rule".
  • Form I-9 does not require a social security number, but E-Verify does.
  • The I-9 Form does not ask for a photo for identity-related issues, but E-Verify does.
  • The I-9 Form can be used to re-approve expired work permits, but E-Verify does not offer this possibility.

After using the E-Verify system, we can see two different results:

  • Matching: If the information that the employer enters into the E-Verify system about the worker on the I-9 Form matches the data of the US Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration, there is no obstacle for the person to work.
  • Mismatch: If the information that the employer enters into the E-Verify system about the worker on the I-9 Form does not match the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration data, there is a problem with the person's employment. Upon this result, the individual can take the necessary remedies to resolve this mismatch.

As mentioned above, employers are not required to use this system. However, in some cases, employers may need to check an individual's eligibility through E-Verify before hiring them. These exceptional cases are as follows:

  • If the employer's contract is a federal contract, it is mandatory to use the E-Verify system.
  • It is mandatory to use this system if the employer's contract is a subcontract (subcontracting agreement) that has an E-Verify requirement according to the Federal Acquisition Regulation.
  • If the state in which the employer is located has mandated the use of the E-Verify system by law, it is mandatory to use this system.

E-Verify is available in every state in the US and is currently the best verification mechanism for hiring, and it still holds this position. According to April 30, 2023 data, Georgia (141,855), California (88,315) and Florida (83,442) have the highest number of employers who have signed E-Verify agreements.

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