E-Verify is an internet-based Employment Eligibility Verification System run by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that allows employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of certain employees. To use E-Verify, an employer enters employee information from the Form I-9 into the web-based system. E-Verify then runs that information against records in the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) databases to confirm whether the employee is authorized to work in the United States.
Under federal law that will become effective June 30, 2009, federal contractors will be required to participate in E-Verify. Failure to comply with the Federal Contractor Rule can result in loss of federal contracts and debarment from future federal contracts.
There is also a growing patchwork of state laws that require employers to participate in E-Verify. These laws can be broken down into three basic categories (1) laws that require all employers in the state to participate in E-Verify, (2) laws that require public or state employers to participate and (3) laws that require those contracting with the state or political subdivisions within the state to participate in E-Verify. The penalties for non-compliance vary by state and may include, for example, loss of business licenses and ability to conduct business in the state, loss of state contracts as well as civil fines and penalties.
We regularly counsel employers with regard to E-Verify including, for example:
- advice with regard to advantages and disadvantages of E-Verify participation;
- analysis of whether the company/institution is a federal contractor or subcontractor required to participate in E-Verify;
- analysis of whether the company/institution must participate under state law;
- analysis of whether the company/contractor may qualify for any of the exemptions to the Federal Contractor Rule or state laws;
- analysis of the scope of required participation including whether the employer/company/worksite must enroll in E-Verify;
- assistance with regard to registration, employee training and effective use of the system; and
- assistance with development of policies, programs and procedures to assure full compliance and limit liability.