SHRM's Employment Verification Survey Indicates Strong Employer Support for Mandatory Electronic Verification System

Mar 28, 2017

ALEXANDRIA, Va., March 28, 2017 — A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in collaboration with the Council for Global Immigration (CFGI) indicates that there is strong support from employers for a mandatory electronic employment verification system (also known as E-Verify).

The support for E-Verify comes at a time when HR professionals are experiencing challenges with both the electronic verification system and the Form I-9 employment verification process.

The survey results are timely, as the Trump administration's Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal includes funding to support mandatory use of E-Verify.

The current employment verification process, the Form I-9, uses paper documentation to verify employment eligibility of people seeking work in the United States and is mandatory for all employers. The E-Verify system relies on Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security databases to confirm that individuals are authorized to work in the United States. The use of E-Verify is mandatory for federal contractors and subcontractors, and 21 states and localities require the use of E-Verify for some or all employers.

The SHRM Employment Verification Survey found that employers would support a mandatory electronic verification system (83 percent either strongly or somewhat support such a system).

Employer support was even stronger if an electronic verification system:

  • avoids allegations of employment-based discrimination (95 percent).
  • includes a strong safe harbor to protect employers (95 percent).
  • authenticates identity (94 percent).
  • eliminates the Form I-9 (89 percent).

However, employers noted challenges with the current E-Verify. The most frequently reported challenges were that it does not replace Form I-9 (25 percent) and it has an unclear process for resolving issues when a worker's ability to be employed in the United States is not confirmed (22 percent).

Survey results show that employers also have challenges with the Form 1-9. Maintaining records when keeping track of documents with an expiration date (37 percent) was the most frequently reported challenge with the paper verification process.

"The research findings clearly demonstrate that employers would support mandatory employment verification if it includes additional features to provide greater certainty that they are hiring a legal workforce," said Evren Esen, SHRM director of workforce analytics.

The survey polled 453 HR professionals from a randomly selected sample of SHRM's membership. The survey was conducted between Oct. 11 and Nov. 18, 2016. It has a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points.

These findings are consistent with those of SHRM E-Verify surveys in 2006 and 2014.




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