What is Employment Eligibility Verification?

Form I-9, or Employment Eligibility Verification, is a required aspect of employment in the United States. The purpose of Form I-9 is to verify both the employment authorization and the identity of all individuals, citizens and noncitizens, who are being employed in the U.S.

Form I-9 must be completed by employees as well as employers. An employer representative may complete the form on the employer’s behalf if they are authorized to do so.

Employees

Employees who are filling out form I-9 must confirm their employment authorization, as well as provide approved documents to the employer that will verify both their employment eligibility and their identity.

Employers

All employers are required to verify the employment eligibility of their employees by executing and maintaining the Form I-9. It is their responsibility to examine the documents presented by the employee to prove employment authorization and identity. It is up to the employer to determine whether the documents seem to be authentic and then to record the information from the documents on Form I-9.

I-9 Audits

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) performs I-9 audits on businesses to verify the employment eligibility of their employees. Businesses should have policies and procedures in place to ensure their I-9 compliance and to avoid hefty fines and penalties.

What About E-Verify?

E-Verify is an online system created to assist employers in confirming the legal status of newly hired employees. When E-Verify is used by an employer, it compares the employee’s name and their information from the Form I-9 to data from the Department of Homeland Security immigration databases, Social Security number information, and in certain states, driver’s license records.

Do I Need to Use E-Verify?

E-Verify laws differ from state to state. Legislation has been passed in 20 states that require E-Verify in some capacity. 12 states have laws or executive orders requiring employers who contract with local or state government to use E-Verify, and eight other states require E-Verify to be used by all employers.

However, the use of E-Verify is required for companies that have contracts of at least $150,000 with the federal government and for subcontractors with related contracts of at least $3,000. These companies must verify the work authorization of all employees, new and existing, who are performing work directly under the contract.

Why E-Verify is Good for Your Business

Using E-Verify to confirm the identity and employment eligibility of an employee is beneficial in several important ways. It relieves you of the burden of determining the validity of an employee’s documents. If you are in compliance with the terms of E-Verify, you will be presumed not to have violated any rules regarding hiring. On a larger scale, because E-Verify is more effective in detecting fraudulent work-authorization documents, the number of undocumented workers employed by your business should be reduced.

How We Can Help

Youngblood & Associates offers proactive I-9 support. We will work with you to make sure that your Form I-9s are executed, maintained, and retained according to regulation, and we will prepare you for an employment eligibility verification audit from ICE. We also offer legal representation should you be issued civil fines or criminal penalties by ICE or DOL.

Utilizing E-Verify correctly and ensuring that your workforce is legal and in compliance with the law is vitally important for the creditability and legality of your business. It is extremely helpful to work with an attorney to ensure that your business is on track with the E-Verify process. The Youngblood & Associates legal team has substantial experience working with E-Verify and will help your company abide by all state laws and executive orders with certainty.

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