The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the launch of the E-Verify Self Check website on March 21, 2011. The E-Verify Self Check enables individuals in the United States to determine if the government’s records accurately reflect their own employment eligibility status before they seek employment. For now, the E-Verify Self Check is limited to persons who maintain an address and are physically located in Arizona, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Mississippi or Virginia.
By way of background, the web-based E-Verify system is a generally voluntary program employers can use to verify the employment eligibility of newly-hired workers using information collected during completion of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form. E-Verify is mandatory for certain federal contractors. Individual states also have laws requiring some or all employers to use additional means of employment eligibility verification such as E-Verify. While the general concept of allowing individuals the ability to check (and potentially correct) their employment eligibility status using the new E-Verify Self Check tool is viewed as favorable by most observers, some have cited concerns with data privacy, the possible lack of access for those without a sufficient financial/credit history, and the potential misuse of the system by employers (i.e., using the Self Check as a pre-employment screening tool).