Whether you are a small business owner or a Fortune 500 company, you have likely heard about E-Verify, a program that can help employers adhere to federal law by verifying that employees are eligible to work in the United States. This crucial responsibility which can affect a company’s ability to stay I-9 compliant has many turning to the web-based E-Verify program to assist in ensuring that a company’s workforce is effectively verified and authorized to begin work.
About E-Verify and How it Works
Federal law mandates that every new hire is required to complete a Form I-9. This form was created as a result of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and is designed to help verify the identity and employment eligibility of an individual.
There are three main sections to the Form I-9:
- Section1: The first section of this form requires employees to complete the personal information requested on the Form I-9 by the first day of employment. Employers must then ensure the employee completed the first section properly.
- Section 2: The middle part of the Form I-9 focuses on review and verification. Employees are required to present identification documents as listed on the form to employers. Employers must then in good faith examine those documents for apparent authenticity. This section of the form must be completed within three business days of an employee’s first day at work.
- Section 3: The third section of the form deals primarily with reverification and rehires and should be handled by the employer in the event that an employee’s name changes, work authorization expires, or is rehired within three years of the date on the original form.
The information gathered in the Form I-9 is vital to the success of the E-Verify program. Since the program is web-based, it allows companies to complete E-Verify cases online. To begin, an employer should open up a new case in the E-Verify system and complete the case form no later than the third business day from an employee’s first day on the job by utilizing the information from the employee’s Form I-9.
Once the E-Verify case is completed, the E-Verify program compares the Form I-9 information with that kept on file by government agencies to confirm an employee’s employment eligibility. Some E-Verify case results that confirm an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States can be received by the employer in less than a minute. This type of verification and authorization can help relieve some of the authentication pressure from employers and protect against identity and document fraud.
The Form I-9 and E-Verify information exchange process can be easily facilitated for employers utilizing digital I-9 software. In most cases, the software will auto populate many of the E-Verify fields without requiring retyping, which can help minimize common human errors.
Do I have to use E-Verify?
While in some areas of the United States enrollment in E-Verify is voluntary, it may be a mandatory requirement for businesses located in other states. In general, there are three main reasons why companies could be required to enroll in the program:
- Being mandated to participate in E-Verify because of an official legal ruling
- Participating in federal contracts or subcontracts with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause present
- Operating in a state that requires its businesses to participate in E-Verify
Required or not, the E-Verify program is open to businesses located in all fifty of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. At the pace the country is in for 2019, employers will use E-Verify for an astounding 50 million employees.
How Digital I-9 Software Can Help With E-Verify
The two main components of verifying an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States is the Form I-9 and E-Verify. An employer that digitizes the Form I-9 and utilizes the E-Verify program could potentially have an advantage to staying compliant with federal law.
Ways Digital I-9 Software Can Help With The Form I-9 For E-Verify
- Be a User Friendly Resource: The Form I-9 can be complex because of the amount of information it requires, multiple deadlines, and the handling of identification documents. Digital I-9 software should provide helpful prompts to walk employers and employees through every step of the process.
- Facilitate The Process: Digital software should come with printable built-in checklists for employees and employers. Checklists of information that will be required for the Form I-9 can be presented to employees well in advance to effectively streamline the process. Employers can use a checklist to stay on task when it comes to Form I-9 responsibilities and deadlines.
- Minimize Error: This software is designed to alert users to common human errors such as blank or incomplete fields and missing signatures. These errors, if not caught, could lead to a company being found non-compliant with federal law in an official audit.
Ways Digital I-9 Software Can Help Specifically With E-Verify
- Accuracy: With the help of digital I-9 software, the information typed into a Form I-9 should be complete and without the presence of common human error. This feature is key as the information in the digital form can be used to auto populate E-Verify program fields.
- Save time: This simple transfer of information can help cut down on the time it would have taken to re-enter the information as well as minimize the chance for error.
By utilizing digital I-9 software in tandem with the E-Verify program, employers should feel confident in their efforts to be Form I-9 compliant and have more peace of mind about the confirmed eligibility of employees.