The E-Verify program was started in 1996 by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. Although at its inception it was only implemented in Florida, California, Texas, New Your, and Nebraska, through repeated renewals, it has now expanded to all 50 states.
How does the E-Verify program work?
Employees who participate in this program ask their new hires to fill out form I-9 which asks them for their name, address, date of birth, and social security number. The form is run through the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security in order to verify the identity of the employee. Results are generally obtained within 24 hours.
There are two possibilities as far as the results are concerned: Either the information matches the databases of SSA and DHS and the employee is allowed to work, or there is no match.
If there is no match, then the employer receives a tentative non-confirmation or TNC. The employee then has eight business days to contest the TNC with the government. If it is not contested or if it is contested unsuccessfully, then it turns into an FNC or final-non confirmation and the employee must be fired.
Employers who fail to fire an employee who has received an FNC may face hefty daily fines for each day that the employee is still working. The exact amount of the fine is determined by the size of the employer, whether this company has had prior violations, the seriousness of the violation, and the firm’s history of previous violations.
Is Using E-Verify mandatory?
At its start, the E-Verify program was voluntary and only applied to federal contractors. These days it has become mandatory for many employers and the list of states requiring employers to make use of this web-based program seems to be expanding every year.
In Florida, it is now only mandatory for public employers and contractors that work with the state.
What happened in Florida in 2021 regarding the E-Verify system?
As of the beginning of 2021, Florida established a new E-Verify requirement in the state. It mandates that every employer who is doing work in a public project, as well as their contractors and subcontractors, must both enroll and begin using this system to confirm the eligibility of any new employee they are about to hire.
This new rule does not apply to private employers unless they have a contract with a public agency, or in cases where they are applying to get taxpayer-funded incentives granted by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
In Florida, private employers who do not use form I-9 when hiring new employees, must comply with a modified retention rule and keep the hiring documents they used for a period of three years.
If you manage or own a company that does business in more than one state, then it is important to become familiar with specific E-Verify rules since they vary from state to state.
How accurate is the E-Verify system?
Since its inception, E-Verify’s error rate has improved noticeably but it is still not perfect. The Florida Immigration Law Counsel has worked with many workers that have been unfairly fired after a mistaken E-Verify result. If this has happened to you, then you should talk to an immigration attorney to help clear your case.