For the most part, employers are required by the Dept of Home Land Security to verify an employee’s right to legally hold a job in the US. Employers usually do this with the the use of the I-9 form that requires the employee to furnish proof of a right to work legally in the US by providing a drivers license and other supporting documents, like a social security card, or a passport. In the past, there has been no way for the employer to verify the information provided on the I-9 form. (Perhaps the individual provided phony ID cards.)
E-Verify is a system developed by the HSA and the SSA to let employers know instantly if the new hire is legally eligible to work in the US based on the information provided to the employer by the individual. There has been a big push by HSA to make E-Verify mandatory in all states. But many states have been slow to utilize the system for a few reasons. First, it took the Feds much more time than they anticipated to get a reliable system up and running. The Feds were not going to enforce the use of such a broken system and State employers did not want to use one. Second, many employers resisted the added burden and cost (primarily in time spent) of using a system that created another roadblock to hiring workers.
However the bugs are out of the system for the most part, and the Feds are cracking down more on employers who hire individuals who do not have the legal right to work in the US. Thus the use of the E-Verify system is growing as more and more states require its use. The federal government and most states require the use of E-Verify for hiring government agency employees and contractors.
E-Verify requirements for private employers vary by state, and are changing all the time. For instance while Tennessee currently does not require E-Verify for all employers, it does require at least a I-9 process to verify legal eligibility.
States that require E-Verify for all employees:
- Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina, Utah
States that require E-Verify for only state agencies, public employers and contractors. While these states strongly encourage the use of E-Verify for private employers, there is leniency in requiring use of the system:
- Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia
Note these states do require some verification of employee legal eligibility from all employers with the use of paper documentation such as an I-9 and appropriate ID’s
States that require E-Verify for only state contractors:
- Colorado, Minnesota
States with state-wide legislation pending regarding E-Verify:
- Michigan, Oklahoma
States that require the use of E-Verify through only local/municipal laws:
- Michigan, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania
States with E-Verify laws that have expired or been rescinded:
- California, Illinois, Rhode Island
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