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E-Verify self-check goes live March 18

Mar 17, 2011 Brian Bradley

A new feature allowing employees to self-check their work authorization status via a federal database is set to go live on March 18, the Department of Homeland Security announced in a February issue of the Federal Register. The E-Verify self-check system is part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, and is meant to allow individuals to check their own work authorization status before employment and correct potential errors in the federal database. The online portal requires a person to enter information for identity verification before he or she can view the personal data typically provided on Form I-9 employment documentation. Before the self-check application, only employers could verify work authorization for new hires. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the system's identity proofing feature to keep track of all inquiries and to log the time and date of a check on the individual's credit record, though the identity checks do not show up on credit report. Though employers are not allowed to make current or future employees run a self-check as part of the pre-employment screening process, according to John Fay of, the E-Verify database may become a vital aspect of business operations later. In February, lawmakers proposed the Jobs Recovery by Ensuring a Legal American Workforce Act, which would require all employers to use E-Verify to conduct a work authorization check on every worker. If the proposal becomes law, employers who fail to report correct information or who hire an illegal immigrant would be fined between $2,500 and $5,000 for the first offense, $7,500 and $15,000 for the second offense and between $25,000 and $50,000 for every offense after that. As a recent fake-document sting emphasizes, employers should conduct criminal background checks and take other steps to verify the identity and work authorization of job applicants. Prosecutors in eastern Virginia recently broke up a major fake-document ring that was conducting business in 19 cities and 11 states, USA Today reports. The group supplied Social Security numbers, U.S. residency cards and driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, the paper reports, and would often resort to violence to scare away potential competitors.