Most Employers Welcome Mandated E-Verify with Improvements

By Roy Maurer Mar 28, 2017
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About 9 in 10 HR professionals said they would support a mandatory electronic employment verification system if it included employer protections and better authentication tools and negated the Form I-9, according to research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

SHRM surveyed over 450 HR practitioners in late 2016 who were randomly selected from its membership.

Similar to survey results from 2014, 82 percent of respondents said they would support a mandatory electronic verification system generally, but that acceptance would be stronger (92 percent, on average) if the system were to address problem areas regarding the government's currently used E-Verify system.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Complying with I-9 and E-Verify Requirements]

Support is very high for an E-Verify system that:

  • Includes a strong safe harbor for employers using the system in good faith (95 percent).
  • Avoids allegations of employment-based discrimination (95 percent).
  • Better authenticates identity (94 percent). Eighty-four percent of respondents support adding a photo-matching tool to E-Verify to authenticate identity.
  • Provides a brief period to resolve work authorization disputes (92 percent).
  • Eliminates the Form I-9 (89 percent).

Among employers that did not participate in E-Verify, 37 percent reported that the primary reason for not participating was that E-Verify does not eliminate the requirement to complete the Form I-9.

Verification Obstacles

Respondents reported having continuing challenges with the Form I-9 verification process and with using E-Verify. More than 50 percent said their organizations encounter problems when administering the I-9, with record retention (37 percent) and document authenticity (14 percent) being the most frequently reported issues.

The biggest complaint about E-Verify is that it does not replace the I-9 (25 percent), followed by an unclear process for resolving tentative nonconfirmations (22 percent).  

The survey also revealed that:

  • 60 percent of employers participate in E-Verify because it is required by law; the remaining 40 percent do so voluntarily.
  • Almost half of employers (46 percent) who use E-Verify have done so for five years or longer.
  • More than three-fourths of employers (77 percent) train new E-Verify administrators via an online tutorial.

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