E-Verify is the internet based system that compares the information from an employee’s I-9 to information in the Homeland Security and Social Security Administration databases to confirm the employee is eligible to work legally in the United States.
Many states require employers to use e-Verify to administer their I-9 compliance programs. There’s lots of debate as to whether this should be required nationwide. I’m not going to debate that in this post … I live in NC and it has been required here since October 2012. And, as someone who has survived a couple Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Audits in their career, I’m glad to have e-Verify to help make my I-9 administration more compliant.
Besides the obvious benefit of ensuring your company is not employing people who aren’t authorized to work, here’s what else I love about e-Verify:
- Limits errors. Employees and employers complete the I-9 form electronically on the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) website or a secondary vendor. The site guides you through each section, making sure everything is filled out completely and correctly to the government standards so there is little room for error. Nothing can be skipped or overlooked because the system will not allow that … Even after over a decade of completing I-9s, I still get tripped up by the different documents and what info has to be recorded for each document. I love that e-Verify simplifies this for me and reminds me of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done and where.
- Keeps records. All the I-9s completed thru e-Verify are stored on the USCIS or vendor site for the required duration. If needed, you can access and print it or update it … Let’s face it, storing I-9s is a pain in the butt because they have to be kept separate from other employee records. I love that e-Verify keeps all this data on file for me so the only thing I have to keep copies of are the List A documents, which don’t take up much space because people generally use List B and C documents to prove work eligibility. This saves paper and space which equals to resources I can allocate to other, more value adding areas.
- Removes guessing. The e-Verify site is connected directly to Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration — the two departments that authorize people to work. Having their approval or denial on the status of your employees’ work eligibility and the documents they present means the employer doesn’t have to use their own judgment on whether the employee is eligible and their documents legitimate … I’m a Human Resources professional. Sometimes I feel like a detective — but I don’t actually want to be one. Examining and scrutinizing documents to be sure they are legitimate is not how I want to spend my time. With e-Verify, I don’t have to worry about that anymore and I can focus my attention on other things.
If e-Verify isn’t required in your state, I urge you to look into signing up voluntarily to simplify administration and strengthen compliance with I-9 completion. Check out this link to the USCIS website for more information — and hit me up on LinkedIn for recommendations on which vendors are great and which to avoid partnering with.