Hiring a person especially a foreign national at your firm comes with many legal packages. Every employer hiring foreign workers must be properly be verified in the USA. This verification comes through Form I-9 and E-verify systems.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses Form I-9 to check and verify the identity as well as the work authorization status in the United States. Organizations need to implement this at the end of their recruitment procedure for their new employees irrespective of their citizenship status.
E-Verify is a system implemented to provide a comparison with the data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and/or the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS). The data that is being compared comes from Form I-9.
What is Form I-9?
As stated earlier, Form I-9 is used for work authorization and identity verification. Within 2 days of joining, a new employee must complete the section-1 of this form. In turn, the organization has to complete the section-3 within the time span of 3 working days after joining. These time bounds are to be strictly adhered to, otherwise may lead to legal issues. Especially if this pops up during a random audit. The firm can fill in section 2 once a job offer has been drawn with the employee.
For the proper completion of Form I-9, the employees must provide documents, as stated by the federal rules, to the employer. The employer holds the sole responsibility to see that the form is duly completed and signed.
What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is an online system that helps employers in verifying the work authorization status of their employees. This is done by electronically comparing the data from the Form I-9 and the information held by the federal government i.e Department of Homeland Security.
There are some vital differences between Form I-9 and the E-Verify program:
- Above all, the Form I-9 is obligatory for all businesses, while E-Verify is willful for most organizations, even though it is needed for federal contractual workers, and numerous states likewise require E-Verify for certain organizations.
- The processing of Form I-9 doesn’t require a Social Security Number (SSN). One must remember that if an organization demands the employee to show an SSN card for Form I-9, it is a violation and is legally punishable. On the other hand, the usage of E-Verify strictly requires SSN for e-verification.
- Another major difference is the usage of identity documents that contain photos. Form I-9 has no such specifications. One can provide documents that don’t contain their photos, provided the concerned document is acceptable as identity proof. In contrast to this, E-Verify can only proceed ahead with the processing if it is provided with an identity document that has a photo.
- Considering the ease of the online system, employers sometimes unknowingly use the resources wrongly. Especially in the case of re-verification of employment authorization post expiry. E-verify cannot be used for this purpose. This is strictly forbidden by the law-makers with laws in place that can penalize employers if they do so. Here, Form I-9 is the only method that an employer can use for this purpose.
[ALSO READ: E-Verify and Form I-9 Compliance: Why Employers Must Follow]
The systems are kept in place to prevent any sort of issues for employers with a smooth transition for their workers. The law-makers have also considered the employees in case of prejudice happens in any form.
Form I-9 and E-Verify are quite a firm methodology for USCIS to understand the work authorization of the employees being hired. They, hand in hand, provide the employer insight as to the next step to be taken for their new hires.
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