Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security launched an expansion of their E-Verify program (what’s that?) with the introduction of E-Verify Self-Check. HL.BLR describes the online tool as allowing “workers and jobseekers to check their own employment authorization status.” The expansion, however, does not address the responsibility of employers to utilize the nationally encouraged government program.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published a comprehensive article of information on E-Verify Self-Check. Some highlights…
–As of March 21, 2011, E-Verify Self Check is available to users who maintain an address and are physically located in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia or the District of Columbia.
–USCIS estimates that Self Check users will generate about 850,000 to 1 million queries in the first year, with approximately 8 million queries per year after the program is expanded nationwide. The servers that house E-Verify databases have been tested and are capable of handling these additional queries.
–Self Check purges all personal information used in the identity assurance process at the end of the user session and maintains a record of personal information only as long as necessary. For example, users’ addresses are only stored by Self Check until users complete the identity assurance process, as they are not needed later in the process.
–Self Check will not affect a user’s credit score. Users viewing their credit reports after using Self Check will see a record of a “soft hit” or “soft inquiry” in the report. Soft hits are not shown to businesses and are not used to calculate credit scores.
DHS has made clear, however, that employment status self-check does not replace an employer’s authorization query, which makes some wonder if more strict implementation should be required to make the most of this technology-embracing tool:
–E-Verify employers must continue to run an E-Verify query on each new hire (or existing employee, if applicable), even if the new hires have previously verified their employment status through Self Check. The results of a Self Check query do not replace the results of an E-Verify query.
–An individual’s status or information may change between the time they use Self Check and when an employer uses E-Verify. Accordingly, if E-Verify Self Check confirms that an individual is authorized to work in the United States, it does not necessarily mean that a future E-Verify query will find the same individual to be employment authorized.
–The self-check program cost only $3.2 million to establish. The umbrella program has been gaining steam. AZ Central:
–More than 250,000 employers use E-Verify at about 850,000 worksites, said Alejandro Mayorkas, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He said about 1,200 new employers sign up for the program each week.
The federal government does not require employers to use E-Verify. However, Arizona and about a dozen other states have passed state laws mandating its use.
According to HispanicallySpeakingNews, the E-Verify Self Check process consists of four steps:
o Users enter identifying information online (such as name, date of birth and address).
o Users confirm their identity by answering demographic and/or financial questions generated by a third-party identity assurance service.
o Users enter work eligibility information such as a Social Security number and, depending on citizenship status, an Alien Registration number.
o E-Verify Self Check checks users’ information against relevant SSA and DHS databases and returns information on users’ employment eligibility status.
Word has it that there are plans to expand the service to 16 states in fiscal year 2012 and then nationwide.