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E-Verify is an Internet based system operated by the DHS in partnership with the SSA that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees. E-Verify was first developed in 1997 in the wake of a 1996 immigration reform law and was set up as a voluntary aid for employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees. E-Verify virtually eliminates SSA mismatch letters, improves the accuracy of wage and tax reporting, protects jobs for authorized U.S. workers, and helps U.S. employers maintain a legal workforce. E-Verify is free and voluntary and is the best means available for determining employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security Numbers.


Under USCIS' new Optional Practical Training (OPT) regulation, an F-1 student who has a degree in a STEM field that is the basis for the student's current period of OPT is eligible for a 17-month extension of practical training, provided that he or she is employed by a business that is enrolled and in good standing in the E-Verify program. As published, the regulation does not specify the extent to which an employer must use E-Verify in order to employ a STEM graduate on extended OPT. For example, many employers use E-Verify at specific locations only, rather than company-wide. However, USCIS has now clarified that it is not enough for the employer to merely be registered in E-Verify at any location; it must be enrolled in and properly using E-Verify at the site where the STEM graduate will be employed.  If the STEM graduate is employed by more than one employer, all of the graduate's employers must comply with the E-Verify requirement. The employer must provide its E-Verify identification number for inclusion on the STEM graduate's Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization.

Note that the employer should use the E-Verify system to confirm the STEM graduate's employment eligibility only if the graduate is a new hire. E-Verify cannot be used to verify the employment eligibility of existing employees.

Federal Contractors Must E-Verify: On June 9, 2008, President Bush issued an executive order prohibiting federal contracting agencies from contracting with any companies who do not use an electronic employment eligibility verification system designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security. While the Executive Order does not specify when contractors must comply nor does it designate the specific electronic verification system contractors must use, Secretary Michael Chertoff of the DHS responded to the Executive Order by designating E-Verify as the system of choice to ensure that the federal government only does business with companies that agree to verify the legality of their new hires and further, that the specific employees tapped to perform contract services in the United States for the federal government are authorized to work in this country.

The overall goals of the E-Verify program are to reduce unauthorized employment, minimize verification-related discrimination, be quick and non-burdensome to employers, and protect the civil liberties and employee privacy.  Over 61,000 employers are using the E-Verify system.  Top industries using E-Verify include: doctors; lawyers; CPAs; administrative and support services; professional, scientific, and technical services; food services, and clothing and accessories stores.


States that have enacted legislation that mandates the use of E-Verify:
  • Arizona (required for all employers) and MS (began phased-in approach 07/01/2008)
  • Arkansas, Georgia, Colorado, Oklahoma and Rhode Island (required for public contractors)

    States that have enacted legislation that encourages the use of E-Verify:
  • Tennessee and Missouri
States that require their state agencies participates in E-Verify:
  • Indiana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Utah, and Rhode Island
States that have legislation pending that mandates employers to verify new hires using E-Verify:
    • California, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia (would require public employers)
    • Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Rhode Island, Kansas and New Jersey (would require all public and private employers)
    • Colorado and Florida (would require all contractors and subcontractors competing for work on public contracts to register)

    How does an employer sign up for E-Verify?

    To participate in E-Verify, an employer must register online at the DHS E-Verify page and accept the electronic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that details the responsibilities of the Social Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security and the employer. 
    The registration page for E-Verify is at


Immigration Compliance Group provides on-site or web seminar training covering: 
  • Pros and cons of on-line checks for new hires status and social security numbers
  • State law requirements;
  • Safe Harbors;
  • Use of other new technologies.


HOW Immigration Compliance Group CAN HELP YOU

Immigration Compliance Group works proactively with its clients to provide comprehensive assistance in developing and maintaining best practices necessary to assure compliance with USCIS, ICE, SSA and DOL regulations.

Employer compliance is becoming more complex and enforcement (investigations and audits) is increasing. In order to effectively deal with these issues and avoid the very severe consequences for non-compliance, employers must take the time to develop a strategy and be prepared in advance with an Immigration Compliance Program.

Immigration Compliance Group will customize such a program for you and will provide onsite or telephonic training, consulting, and document auditing in all of the areas mentioned above, as well as provide ongoing compliance updates. For more information on our services, please contact us at

Immigration Compliance Group | Long Beach, CA | 1.562.612.3996 |