Employers are scratching their heads wondering whether to use E-Verify.  While it typically is a case-by-case decision that can be affected by a multitude of factors, here is a partial list of key employer considerations regarding the use of E-Verify:

  • Does the employer operate in a state that already requires it to use E-Verify?  Arizona requires it for all employers and other states require it for certain employers, typically state government contractors;
  • The system may eventually become mandatory for additional groups of em-ployers or all employers;
  • There is no direct cost to enroll and employers have commonly found the system easy to use.  However, time is required to begin E-Verify participation and follow-up on nonconfirmations can be time-consuming as some verifications take several weeks;
  • E-Verify can be implemented at one, some, or all employer locations;
  • It reduces the number of Social Security number (SSN) no-matches and improves the accuracy of wage and tax reporting;
  • E-Verify is not infallible with an error rate up to 10% for noncitizens;
  • Participation in E-Verify does NOT provide a “safe harbor” from worksite enforcement.  Some of the largest raids have involved employers using E-Verify (e.g., the recent raid at Howard Industries in Laurel, Mississippi); 
  • Employers must agree to provide access to its employment records to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration for the purpose of program evaluation; and
  • It creates a rebuttable presumption that the employer has not knowingly hired an unauthorized alien.

Visit www.uscis.gov/everify for more program information or consult with your immigration advisor to discuss the merits of E-Verify participation.

Note: This article was published in the September 2008 issue of the Immigration eAuthority.


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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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