E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that allows employers to verify the employment eligibility of employees. E-Verify checks employee-provided I-9 information against records contained in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases. Pursuant to the federal enabling legislation, E-Verify is voluntary for employers. However, several states have passed laws requiring some employers to use E-Verify and certain federal contractors also are required to use E-Verify.

As a reminder of the most recent updates:

  • On June 24, a mandatory mass modification was issued by the General Services Administration (GSA) that will affect all Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts unless one of the regulatory exemptions apply (for a list of exemptions, click here). This will greatly broaden the number of federal contractors required to use E-Verify.
  • Arizona requires all employers to use E-Verify. Note however that the U.S. Supreme Court will be reviewing a lawsuit that contests the validity of the Arizona requirement.
  • Mississippi’s law requiring employers to use E-Verify (in addition to normal I-9 completion) was expanded to employers with 30 or more employees as of July 1. Previously, employers with 100 or more employees were subject to the new law. All employers will be required to use E-Verify as of July 1, 2011.
  • As of July 1, all South Carolina employers must use E-Verify or review a qualifying drivers’ license of new hires.
  • As of July 1, Utah requires businesses with more than 15 employees to use E-Verify (or another status verification system, such as the Social Security Number Verification Service) to verify newly-hired employees.

Employers must continue to monitor changing E-Verify requirements. Once enrolled, proper use of the system is also critical. E-Verify users are being monitored for compliance and information may be shared with other government entities (e.g., EEOC, OFCCP). In addition, Illinois has passed a law creating a possible cause of action for employees harmed by an employer’s improper use of E-Verify.

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Ogletree Deakins has one of the largest business immigration practices in the United States and provides a wide range of legal services for employers seeking temporary business visas and permanent residence on behalf of foreign national employees.

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