As an employer, you may be wondering if E-Verify is mandatory for you. Well, the answer is not a simple one. There are various factors to take into account, such as the states in which you operate or have employees. Additionally, the landscape is changing as Florida became the most recent state to require E-Verify for employers.
Before we cover these factors, let's start by defining E-Verify. "E-Verify is an Internet-based system that compares information entered by an employer from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to records available to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA) to confirm employment eligibility," according to e-verify.gov.
Is E-Verify Mandatory?
E-Verify is mandatory for some employers and optional for many. E-Verify is required in some instances, including the following:
- Federal contracts or subcontracts that include the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause
- State legislation that mandates E-Verify
- Past legal ruling
Which States Have E-Verify Mandates?
Currently, 22 states require that some or all employers use E-Verify:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Florida Becomes Latest State to Mandate E-Verify
Florida's new mandate became effective January 1, 2021. Public employers, contractors and subcontractors in Florida must use E-Verify. Private employers in Florida are required to use E-Verify or add some document retention steps to their Form I-9 process. If employers use the Form I-9, they must maintain copies of the documents used to complete the Form I-9 for three years.
What is the Legal Workforce Act?
Earlier this year Congressman Ken Calvert introduced the Legal Workforce Act, H.R. 78, which would make E-Verify mandatory for all employers. The plan calls for a gradual phase-in beginning on the date of enactment and subsequently:
- Within six months of enactment, businesses having more than 10,000 employees are required to use E-Verify.
- Within 12 months of enactment, businesses having 500 - 9,999 employees are required to use E-Verify.
- 18 months after enactment, businesses having 20 - 499 employees must use E-Verify.
- And 24 months after enactment, businesses having 1 - 19 employees must use E-Verify.
- Allows a one-time, six month extension of the initial phase-in.
- It also requires that employees performing 'agricultural labor or services' are subject to an E-Verify check within 30 months of the date of enactment.
Furthermore, the bill would raise penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants in violation of the requirements of the bill. It also would create a penalty for individuals (employees or employers) who knowingly submit false information to the E-Verify system.
Finally, the bill would grant employers safe harbor from prosecution if they use the E-Verify program in good faith, and through no fault of their own, receive an incorrect eligibility confirmation.
How to Make E-Verify Easier
Above all, Equifax can help you manage your E-Verify program. For example:
We help you navigate E-Verify.
- Users do not require E-Verify certification.
- Transfer of key information from I-9 Management to E-Verify helps save time.
- E-Verify submissions can be configured for entire population or based on location.
In addition, we keep up with E-Verify.
- Equifax is your employee agent. Updates are frequent with E-Verify. Equifax integrates updates into our I-9 Management system. This helps you to keep up with the changes.
- Similarly, more states are adopting E-Verify, which can affect your new-hire process. With I-9 Management, you are ready as E-Verify requirements expand.
- Likewise, maintenance, updates, and government shutdowns can affect E-Verify. Equifax is ready for problems like this. When E-Verify is unavailable, I-9 Management stores your cases then submits them automatically when E-Verify is back online.
Finally, learn more about how I-9 Management plus E-Verify from Equifax can help you take better control of your I-9 process.
The information provided herein is intended as general guidance and is not intended to convey specific legal advice.