Heard It on the Hotline: Participating in E-Verify

June 27, 2023
Inside HR
HR Compliance
Recruiting & Hiring
Read time: 2 mins

Q: Should we participate in E-Verify?

A: E-Verify is a free, internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). E-Verify is used to help determine the employment eligibility of new hires.

Employers should consider several factors before determining if they will participate in E-Verify. Employers can first consider if they are required to participate. Some states require employers to be an E-Verify employer. Employers in multiple states may want to consider implementing E-Verify at all their locations to ensure they are compliant with differing state laws and to avoid possible perceived discrimination. Certain government contracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause require employers to participate in E-Verify as well.

If your state does not require participation and your organization is not a federal contractor with a FAR clause contract, then it is at the discretion of the organization to determine if they will participate. If you are a multistate employer, legal guidance is recommended to help you determine which locations must participate. It is important for employers to understand that E-Verify does not replace Form I-9. Rather, the information provided for I-9 purposes is also used to enter the employee’s information into the E-Verify system.

When considering whether the organization will participate, there are several benefits to examine. E-Verify provides an efficient method for determining if an employee is authorized to work. It can help reduce the number of Social Security mismatch letters an employer may receive. E-Verify can also improve the accuracy of wage and tax reporting. Employers who participate can offer F-1 Visa status student employees an additional 24-month extension on their Optional Practical Training (OPT) Visa. Lastly, participation is not difficult, and results are processed quickly.

Employers also need to consider that participation does not alleviate an employer’s responsibility for completing the I-9 forms. Employers who participate must allow the company’s administrators the time and resources to train on the proper use of the system. Participating in E-Verify allows SSA and DHS to audit the company’s data. Providing the data may increase an employer’s risk of being investigated and fined for violations. Lastly, using E-Verify does not eliminate the risk of fines or penalties in case of an audit.

In the end, you may be required to participate in E-Verify. If you are not, carefully reviewing the pros and cons of participation is advised.