The U.S. House of Representatives is considering legislation that would make E-Verify mandatory for employers.
The Legal Workforce Act would require employers to use E-Verify, the electronic database to verify employment eligibility of workers, to check the eligibility of job applicants to work in the U.S. before they are hired. Currently, most employers are not required to use E-Verify, though many utilize it. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reports that more than 700,000 employers use E-Verify at more than 1.9 million hiring sites.
Essentially, E-Verify compares information from an applicant’s Form I-9, to federal records to confirm that applicant is authorized to work in the United States. Once an applicant has accepted an offer of employment and completed Form I-9, the employer takes the information from the Form I-9 and enters it into E-Verify. E-Verify checks the information against records kept by the DHS, Social Security Administration (SSA), and Department of State (DOS) and provides the employer with the results.
The mandatory use of E-Verify, as proposed by the legislation, would create a completely electronic work eligibility check to replace the use of I-9 forms, but would provide employers the option to keep using that paper-based system.
The bill also allows employers to use E-Verify to check the work eligibility of their current employees as long as they do so in a “nondiscriminatory manner” and conduct a review of all employees who are in the same geographic location or in the same job category.
Other features of the bill are:
- Allows individuals to lock their Social Security number (SSN) so that it can’t be used by another person to get a job. If a SSN shows a pattern of unusual multiple use, DHS is required to lock the SSN and alert the owner that his/her personal information may have been compromised.
- Grants employers safe harbor from prosecution if they use the E-Verify program in good faith, and through no fault of their own, receive an incorrect eligibility confirmation.
- Raises penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants in violation of the requirements of the bill. The bill also creates a penalty for individuals (employees or employers) who knowingly submit false information to the E-Verify system.
The legislation was approved by the House Judiciary Committee last month. It can now be considered by the full House of Representatives.
Learn more about E-Verify and how the use of it might impact your business by clicking here.