E-Verify – Federal Program to Verify Employment Eligibility
E-Verify is a free online program that electronically verifies the employment eligibility of newly hired employees. Formerly the Basic Pilot/Employment Eligibility Verification Program, E-Verify is jointly operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) and is overseen by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
E-Verify allows employers to electronically compare employee information taken from the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9) against the records in the DHS and SSA databases. All new employees complete Form I-9 to verify their identity and employment eligibility. The SSA verifies that an employee’s name, social security number, and date of birth are correct. If employees indicate they are not U.S. citizens, the USCIS verifies the employment-authorization status. If the information on Form I-9 matches the information in the SSA and USCIS databases, E-Verify will confirm employment eligibility.
Employers and E-Verify
The E-Verify program is voluntary for all employers, with very narrow exceptions. In order to participate in the program, an employer must register online and accept the electronic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) detailing the responsibilities of the employer, the SSA, and the DHS. An employer may not use E-Verify to confirm employment eligibility for a particular individual until the individual accepts an offer of employment and completes the Form I-9.
Federal Contractors and E-Verify
Federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to begin using the E-Verify system under Executive Order 12989. The current effective date for federal contractors and subcontractors to begin using E-Verify has been delayed multiple times but is currently scheduled to go into effect in September 8, 2009.
Executive Order 12989 directs federal agencies to require that federal contractors agree to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees. The order also reinforces the policy that the federal government does business with companies having a legal workforce.
Under Executive Order 12989, federal contractors must agree to use E-Verify to confirm employment eligibility of all persons hired during a contract term and to confirm the employment eligibility of current employees who perform contract services for the federal government within the United States. This rule requires the insertion of an E-Verify clause into applicable federal contracts.
HR Guide to Employment Law, including immigration
The rule applies to all prime federal contracts for $100,000 or more with a performance period longer than 120 days. The rule also covers subcontractors if a prime contract includes the clause. If a subcontract flows from such a prime contract, the rule will extend the E-Verify requirement to the subcontract if the subcontract is for services or construction with a value over $3,000.
A prime contract is exempt from the rule if it:
- Includes only commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) items and related services;
- Values at less than $100,000;
- Lasts less than 120 days; and
- Involves work that is completely performed outside the United States.