To E-Verify Or Not?

Recently, we’ve been asked more and more by employers whether we recommend for their company to sign up for E-Verify. This may be due to discussions on E-Verify becoming a mandatory requirement for businesses as part of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bills. Given that the immigration reform bills are on hold in Congress for the moment, the issue of mandatory E-verify similarly seems to be on hold. However, it may become a reality sooner than we all expect, so it’s good to be aware and to start to plan.

What is E-Verify?

E-Verify is the online system for verification of employment authorization of employees, through USCIS, Homeland security and Social Security Administration systems. The online system, which initially started in 2004 under the name of Basic Pilot Program, was updated in 2007 and renamed E-Verify.

Who is Required to Participate in E-Verify?

  • In 2009, “Federal Contractor Regulation” went into effect, requiring most federal contractors to use E-verify when hiring new employees.
  • Certain states and municipalities have passed their own legislation regarding E-Verify requirement.  For example:

o Alabama and Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah, require e-verify from all employers, public

o On the other end of the spectrum, California and Illinois have passed laws limiting e-verify laws in

Pros & Cons :

For a complete map of states and status of e-verify in each state, please see:

For those who are not required to participate in E-Verify, it is still wise to consider the pros and cons of whether you want to register and start using the system now. Feel free to contact our office for a consultation: 949-667-0976

1. Employers who anticipate having government contracts, should register and start using the system

2. Employers who employ individuals on OPT who may want to take advantage of the STEM 17 month extension,

3. Eventually, E-Verify will become mandatory. It may be good to prepare for integrating the system into your HR

4. At the same time, employers should be aware that by signing on to E-Verify, they are opening their systems to the government.
Before signing on, the employer should:

a. Conduct an internal audit on its I-9 policies and procedures to ensure compliance

b. Provide for proper training of human resources personnel

c. Ensure it can set up and timely perform the I-9 and E-Verify requirements

d. Ensure its I-9 and E-Verify procedures are not discriminatory against some employees.

e. If an employee union is present, make sure it works with and obtains approval of the employee union in

5. Recently installed features of “locking” a social security number to one person, may cause processing headaches in instances of identity fraud
or even in simple cases of honest entry errors.

Note: Please remember that conducting employment authorization verifications and completing the I-9 forms are required of all employees and are separate from the E-Verify process. To review the I-9 form information and updates, please see our blog at:

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