E-Verify: Federal Eligibility for Employment Explained

June 29, 2016

The E-Verify program is a key component of employment law in the United States. Why? Federal law obliges all companies to ensure that only citizens of the United States (or foreign citizens who have received the requisite legal authorization to work in the country) are able to take up jobs in America. Although the United States is unparalleled when it comes to its diversity, this does sometimes invite problems concerning unauthorized employment. The E-Verify system directly addresses these problems. In addition, it is Internet based—meaning that companies are able to quickly process applications. This helps them determine whether their employees, or their potential employees, have the legal right to work in the country.

E-Verify is performed under the auspices of the United States Citizenship and immigrations Service. The organization adamantly believes that E-Verify is the best way for employers to ensure that their workers are legally entitled to work in the country.

The E-Verify process is performed through the provision of a completed Form I-9, which is Employment Eligibility Verification. An employee is then obliged to create a case in the program no later than the third day after an employee has commenced work. One of the benefits of the program is that where an employee has provided a photograph, the identification photograph of an employee can be compared with the photograph in E-Verify.

The program will provide a result, which will be either initial, interim, or final. A company must ensure that it achieves a final case result before the process can be considered complete. In Georgia, both federal and state employers are obliged to perform the verification process, as formalized in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011. This specifically requires private employers to use E-Verify for all of their workers. The 2011 Act followed the Georgia Security & Immigration Compliance Act of 2006, which obliged pubic employers to verify the identity of their workers. Accusations have been made that the system is insufficiently effective, for the simple reason that the lack of funding means that the auditing process cannot be properly performed.

This is despite the fact that any employer who has not performed the E-Verify process is likely to be in breach of federal and state laws. This applies to contractors as well as sub-contractors, as a contractor cannot even enter into a contract with a public employer for the provision of services until a contractor has conducted E-Verify. A signed and notarized affidavit must be produced regarding this, and failure to do so prohibits a contractor from bidding on a public service contract. Additionally, companies must be aware that failure to abide by the requirements of E-Verify can result in a fine of up to $1,000 for employers per violation.

This is a lot of money for one employee, so employers are best advised to ensure that they conduct the process to the best of their ability.

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