E-Verify Becomes Law

After several delays and unsuccessful lawsuits, the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify program became effective on September 8, 2009. E-Verify is an Internet-based system that is operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration.

The E-Verify system aids compliance with federal immigration laws, helps deter unauthorized individuals from attempting to work, and helps employers avoid employing unauthorized aliens. According to the E-Verify web site, it should virtually eliminate Social Security mismatch letters and improve the accuracy of wage and tax reporting.

Use of the E-Verify system applies to federal contractors and subcontractors, including those who receive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Applicable federal contracts will include a Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause requiring government contractors to use the E-Verify system.

Companies awarded a contract with the E-Verify clause must enroll in E-Verify within 30 days of the contract award date. E-Verify will confirm that all new hires, whether employed on a federal contract or not, and existing employees directly working on these contracts, are legally authorized to work in the United States.

E-Verify allows employers to check the employment eligibility of new hires online by comparing information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, against SSA and Department of Homeland Security databases.

More information on the program is available at the E-Verify web site. E-Verify customer support is also available by calling toll free 888-464-4218. You can read about the failed legal challenges to E-Verify in this e-Week article by Roy Marks.