Under federal law, all employers have to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all new employees - including U.S. citizens - within three days after he or she was hired. E-Verify is an Internet-based system that was developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help employers verify the identities and eligibility of newly hired employees.
The E-Verify system has various requirements that employers must follow. And, employees have various rights and duties with respect to the system. So, if you're an employer or a worker looking for or starting a new job, you should know some things about how E-Verify works.
Of course, if you have any questions about the system, you should consider seeking the advice of an attorney who is experienced in labor and employment law.
How E-Verify Works
When an employee is hired, he or she fills-out the first part of FORM I-9 and the employer completes the Form. The Form is the first step in verifying the employee's identity and legal working status. The employee has to give the employer documentation that establishes his or her identity and eligibility to work in the United States.
The employer then uses the E-Verify system: the system matches the newly hired employee's Social Security number and other Form I-9 information with records stored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Within seconds, the employer is able to confirm an employee's eligibility to work in the U.S. and his or her name, Social Security number, date of birth, citizenship status and any other Form I-9 information.
Use of the E-Verify system is free.
What if the information doesn't match? If your employer runs your information through E-Verify and receives a mismatch - also called a "tentative nonconfirmation" - you have to be given written notification of the mismatch. Also, the employer has to tell you that you can challenge the tentative nonconfirmation.
If you decide to challenge it, the employer has to give you a referral letter, which explains how to contact the DHS and SSA to have the problem investigated and corrected.
Some Important Things to Remember
There are several restrictions and limitations on the employers' use of E-Verify, and the use of it also gives new hires some important rights. For example:
- Employers are required to post a notice that tells employees that E-Verify is being used by the employer
- E-Verify must be used for newly hired employees only
- Employers can't use E-Verify to verify the employment eligibility of current employees
- Employers have to use the system for all newly-hired employees, so it can't be used selectively, that is, an employer can't use it for foreign-born new hires and not use it for new-hires who are US citizens
- E-Verify can be used only after a worker has been hired and has filled-out Form I-9
- Employers can't use E-Verify to pre-screen applicants
- If an employee challenges a tentative nonconfirmation, the employer can't fire or suspend the employee or refuse to pay his or her salary
Questions for Your Attorney
- What type of identification documents should I give my employer?
- Can I require that my newly-hired employees give me certain identification documents?
- Can I handle a challenge to a mismatch or tentative nonconfirmation, or do I need an immigration attorney?