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USCIS Publishes E-Verify Program Reports

The E-Verify system is an optional screening tool for employers used to check an employee’s work authorization status. With mandatory E-verify participation a part of the CIR Bill (SB 744), it would be prudent for current and future business owners to be familiar with the E-verify system and its effectiveness.

To this end, USCIS has recently published numerous reports on the effectiveness and user experiences of the E-verify program. The “Findings of the E-Verify User Survey”, “Findings of the Case Study of E-Verify Employer Agents and Their Clients”, “Arizona Mandatory E-Verify Experience Evaluation Findings”, and “Evaluation of the Accuracy of E-Verify Findings” are the four reports recently released by USCIS. Below is a summary of the findings of the four reports:

Findings of the E-Verify User Survey

Some of the key findings of this report were that employers continued to express high levels of satisfaction with the E-Verify in 2010 and that E-Verify usage rapidly increased between 2008 to 2010. In particular, usage almost tripled from 1.7 million cases submitted from April through June in 2008 to 4.6 million cases submitted during the same period in 2010. Employers also showed increased rates of procedural compliance and there was an increase in the percentage of employers who prescreen their potential hires. Finally, employers that were mandated to participate were found to be more compliant than voluntary employers.

Findings of the Case Study of E-Verify Employer Agents and Their Clients

This study made some interesting findings about E-Verify Employer Agents (EEAs, formerly known as Designated Agents or DAs). One was that the EEA’s clients used them because they lacked the time or resources to administer the E-Verify requirements themselves or because they were required to by statute. The report also found that the program is still growing and is in need of some additional guidance: The majority of EEAs received training from both USCIS and outside sources and desired additional training. The survey respondents also desired a USCIS helpline or resource desk dedicated to EEAs to support them in the field. The report also found both EEAs and their clients were satisfied with the E-Verify program.

Arizona Mandatory E-Verify Experience Evaluation Findings

This report focused on 126 of Arizona’s employers. After the passage of Arizona’s Legal Arizona Workers Act in 2007, the report found a huge increase in employer enrollments into the E-Verify program. The most frequently provided reason for not joining was simply not knowing about the E-Verify program. A majority of the employers (79 out of 125) stated that they would continue to use E-Verify if it were not mandatory. The report also found that the number of unauthorized workers and undocumented immigrants decreased due to the E-Verify program.

Evaluation of the Accuracy of E-Verify Findings

This report was a more in-depth study and a continuation of a 2009 study that analyzed the accuracy of the E-Verify program. Among finding a 94% accuracy rate for Final Nonconfirmations (“FNC”) and an increased ability to correctly identify substantial numbers of unauthorized workers, the report also found that some inaccurate FNCs were due to employers who did not clearly explain the Tentative Nonconfirmation process or failed to notify their workers completely. The report also found that some agency database issues also contributed to inaccurate data.

Given the possible increased prevalence of E-Verify and its possible mandatory use, employers should not only learn what E-Verify is but also how to stay compliant with its requirements.

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