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Using E-Verify to Evaluate if an Employee is Eligible to Work in the United States

Needless to say that illegal immigration has been a big part of the news lately. So, it stands to reason that employment screening services have become even more important in the hiring process. United States law requires companies to hire and employ only those who may legally work in this country, and that includes U.S. and foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization.

The Employment Eligibility Verification Form, better known as Form I-9, is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of anyone hired in the United States. Employers are required to make sure that all new hires complete Form I-9 and present acceptable documents as evidence of their identity and authorization to work here.

But is there anything available to confirm the information that newly hired employees have provided?

The answer is yes. Since 1997, a system called E-Verify has been preventing undocumented immigrants from obtaining employment illegally in the United States. It compares information from an employee’s Form I-9 to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility.

What is E-Verify?

Simply put, E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. Authorized by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, it has been used by businesses of all sizes to ensure a legal workforce for the past twenty years. Today, over 700,000 employers and nearly two million hiring sites use it, and that number is growing by about 1,400 companies each week.

E-Verify’s most noteworthy features are its accuracy and speed (it can compare your data with millions of government records and usually comes up with precise results in three to five seconds!). And, it’s free.

Is it Mandatory?

E-Verify is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration. For most employers, using E-Verify is not mandatory. However, there are exceptions: certain federal government employers, employers who have been previously convicted of hiring unauthorized immigrants, and some or all employers in certain U.S. states are required to use it under current law. And, with immigration reform in the news almost every week, many feel it won’t be long until E-Verify becomes compulsory for all employers.

How Does it Work?

Those employers who use E-Verify submit a worker’s I-9 data to the secure system. That information includes the following:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Alien ID number (for non-citizens)

The system searches the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) database to verify names, birthdates, and Social Security numbers, while the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services database confirms the Alien ID numbers. If the data matches the record in the SSA database (for U.S. citizens) or both databases (for noncitizens), employers are usually given confirmation immediately.

Employers may enroll in the E-Verify program at no cost through the USCIS website.

Need to Perform Employment Background Screening in Buffalo?

Metrodata Services Inc. is one of the leading pre-employment screening firms in Buffalo. We are here to ensure that your company is making the best possible hiring decision. Let us help you find that perfect candidate.