If you have not already heard the buzz, state requirements for E-Verify are growing by leaps and bounds. E-Verify has been required nationwide for the employment of federal contractors and subcontractors for a while now. Many states also require E-Verify for new hires made by large employers.
Other states are implementing laws that expand on existing requirements. For example, as of December 1, 2012 Virginia joined the list of states with mandatory E-Verify requirements. In January 2013 four more states, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, are implementing or expanding E-Verify requirements. Further, many congressional Republicans are calling for E-Verify requirements covering all businesses in all states – public and private.
To see a color coded map showing the latest state-by-state E-Verify requirements, click here.
Perhaps, we should step back. If your firm does not do any federal contracting and is not in a state with expanded requirements, maybe you do not really understand E-Verify. Perhaps, you don’t think E-Verify is something about which your firm needs to worry. There, you are wrong. E-Verify is definitely something all employers (large or small, with or without government contracts, public or privately held) need to keep on their radar!
What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is an electronic database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security that compares employee’s I9 information to information maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:
“The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 prohibits employers from knowingly hiring illegal workers. To comply with this law, employers must collect information regarding an employee’s identity and employment eligibility and document that information on Form I-9. An employee must provide certain information on the form, such as name and date of birth, as well as present supporting documents.
While Form I-9 requires employers to collect information, there was no way for employers to verify that the information employees provide is valid or that the documents presented are genuine—that is, until E-Verify. E-Verify offers employers a powerful tool in protecting themselves against those who try to cheat the system.
By adding E-Verify to the existing Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process, a company can benefit from the peace of mind of knowing that it maintains a legal workforce”.
Beyond just peace of mind, the number of states requiring E-Verify for all employers/employees is growing each day.
How Can I Prepare for E-Verify?
E-Verify is not something any employer can ignore. Even if E-Verify is not effecting you today, it will soon and you need to prepare now. Here are some things you can do to begin preparing now:
• • Consider proactive voluntary E-Verify enrollment. Think about the costs and benefits associated with proactive enrollment and consult your corporate council to help make a decision that meets your organization’s needs.
• • Assume E-Verify will happen and plan now: Create a formal E-verify implementation project plan that includes a company-wide roll out with updates to policy and procedure guides, updates to your onboarding software, manager and HR staff training, etc.
• • Audit your existing I9 Records: Auditing your existing I9 records will help you to identify areas of weakness and early take action to correct any problematic processes related to compliance.
• • Weigh the benefits of using an electronic I9 and E-Verify Software: An I9 and E-Verify software will keep your records organized while streamlining compliance with features like error checking, audit trails, reminders, remote hiring capabilities, instant E-Verify responses, and more.
• Watch E-Verify news for all states in which your company conducts business: This is not as much of a challenge as one might think. Google Alerts are a beautiful thing! If that does not satisfy, you can also find valuable information on I9 and E-Verify News page provided by iCIMS’ I9 and E-Verify partner, Tracker Corp.
With the rate at which E-Verify requirements are expanding, even employers not previously impacted by E-Verify must take a proactive approach and begin preparing now so you don’t get caught off guard when the time comes. Remember, too, iCIMS and our partner, Tracker Corp., are here to help as you navigate the complex waters of employment compliance.