There are a number of steps that employers must take before they officially hire a new employee. In addition to the interview process, it is often necessary to conduct background checks, run drug tests and verify an individual's work authorization.
This final step was made easier through the E-Verify employment eligibility verification program, but the system is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2015. Here's what employers should know about this upcoming deadline.
"More than 600,000 employers use E-Verify."
What is E-Verify?
The E-Verify program was initially launched in 1997 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The goal of the technology was to allow employers to easily check whether their job applicants were legally able to work in the country. According to the E-Verify website, the program is now used by more than 600,000 employers and at almost 2 million hiring sites.
E-Verify works by comparing information from an applicants I-9 form to the official government records. The results are ready within a matter of seconds, making it easy and convenient for employers to vet their new workers.
Why is the program expiring?
Because the E-Verify program is government funded, Congress must reauthorize its continuation. The Society for Human Resource Management explained that Congress voted to reauthorize the program for an additional three years in 2012. Now the legislature must reauthorize E-Verify before it expires on Sept. 30, 2015, otherwise employers may be locked out of the system on the first day of October.
The system has been lauded as one of the best government undertakings in terms of customer satisfaction, so many assume that Congress will make quick work of reauthorization. However, there are a few potential problems that make the future of E-Verify less than certain.
Will Congress reauthorize E-Verify?
Some proponents are concerned about whether Congress will vote on the issue of E-Verify before its expiration date. SHRM noted that the lawmakers do not return from their recess until Sept. 8, and there are a number of pressing issues they need to address, such as lifting the country's debt ceiling. With these big discussions on the agenda, Congress may not have ample time to consider the issue of E-Verify over the course of the month.
Another issue that may stand in the way of reauthorization is the recent concerns about data security. Matthew Hoppock, owner of Hoppock Law Firm, explains to SHRM that storing that much consumer data in one system is essentially asking for security problems.
"The massive data breaches at the Office of Personnel Management, where Chinese hackers made off with untold amounts of classified information and data on federal employees, show that the government should not put employers' and individuals' information into a massive database like E-Verify without being able to secure it," Hoppock noted.
Despite these potential issues, most experts agree that Congress will reauthorize the E-Verify program for three to five years, though it may not be on the exact same terms.
Will the program be changed?
The Department of Homeland Security has been considering implementing a number of changes to the verification program to make it more efficient. JDSupra Business Advisor explained that the DHS proposed requiring employers to complete E-Verify inquires for existing employees whose authorization expires, instead of only running the system on new hires. The news source also noted that there may be changes to the formal review process when an individual wants to contest nonconfirmation.
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