E-Verify is a widely used voluntary Internet verification system operated by the US Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration, allowing employers to check for the validity of personal identification information furnished by applicants. Current US law requires that all employers only employ individuals who are legally authorized to work in the US, either as citizens or foreigners who have work visas. Failure to do this can result in stiff penalties.
While the USA has traditionally encouraged a diverse workforce, E-Verify ensures that employers are in compliance with law abiding employment practices, including the use of the I-9 form to confirm eligibility. Although E-Verify is still a voluntary process, a recent report released by HireRight, an international employment screening provider, shows that more employers are utilizing this than ever before.
The 2011 Employment Screening Benchmarking Report (available here) indicates that as many as 51% of the 1,800 human resources, recruiters, talent managers, security and safety compliance professionals surveyed consistently use E-Verify to cross-check information provided by candidates. This is a significant increase as compared to a similar survey conducted in 2010 that showed only 28% of these groups were using E-Verify.
Additionally, over 10% of this group stated that they planned to use E-Verify in the near future to check candidate’s information against the national Social Security Administration’s database. It’s also interesting to note that the way hiring managers process I-9’s is shifting to a digital system with 27% using a combination of both paper and digital copies. According to HireRight’s report, “employers using a paper-based I-9 process are more likely to experience errors, thereby increasing the risk of noncompliance.”
The HireRight survey also revealed that 69% of participants reported feeling prepared for a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Notice of Inspection or audit, as a result of using E-Verify. This is something that is occurring at a higher than average rate across all industries, particularly focused on small businesses who may be less compliant with best hiring practices. It’s a wise decision to use E-Verify as part of a recruitment process, to avoid stressful audits and reduce the chance of hiring an unauthorized worker.
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