As of yesterday, March 21, 2011, the E-Verify Self Check system has been launched and made available to users who maintain an address and are physically located in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia or the District of Columbia.
About E-Verify Self Check
E-Verify Self Check is the first online E-Verify program offered directly to workers and job seekers. This voluntary, free, fast and secure service was developed through a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The goal of the system is to allow individuals in the United States to check their employment eligibility status before formally seeking employment. The system uses Equifax (a credit rating company) to provide identify verification and, through a combination of DHS/SSA records review, can provide evaluation on its users’ employment eligibility.
One of the drives behind E-Verify Self Check is to allow individuals who plan to seek employment to verify their employment eligibility and so that they have an advance opportunity to correct issues relating to their employment authorization records in DHS or SSA systems.
Although the E-Verify Self Check system was launched yesterday along with active PR, the system is essentially a test limited to only a few states plus the District of Columbia and would probably require congressional approval before it is widely deployed.
USCIS estimates that Self Check users will generate about 850,000 to 1 million queries in the first year, with approximately 8 million queries after/when the program is expanded nationwide. The current plans for expansion are to include 16 states in fiscal year 2012 and roll out nationwide afterwards, if the USCIS budget permits.
The E-Verify Self Check process consists of four steps.
- First, users would enter identifying information online (such as name, date of birth and address).
- Second, users would confirm their identity by answering demographic and/or financial questions generated by a third-party identity assurance service (Equifax, as of now).
- Third, the users would enter work eligibility information such as a Social Security number and, depending on citizenship status, an Alien Registration number.
- Finally, E-Verify Self Check checks users’ information against relevant SSA and DHS databases and returns information on users’ employment eligibility status.
One of the main concerns with E-Verify Self Check is that the results of the program would be shared with employers or would otherwise affect or stay on a person’s credit or background record. USCIS has assured that E-Verify Self Check query information or results are never shared with users’ employers or prospective employers. However, using the E-Verify Self Check would result in a “soft hit” on a user’s credit score. These soft hits are generally not shown to businesses and are not used to calculate credit scores.
Similarly, USCIS prohibits employers from requiring prospective employers submit to E-Verify Self Check as condition of their employment.
Although it is very early to gauge E-Verify Self Check’s success so early, our office has heard concerns that using E-Verify Self Check may impact a user negatively. Although USCIS strives very hard to allay such concerns, the fact is that the perception that negative information provided by E-Verify Self Check may be used against an employee still remains.
Workers who have had information consistency problems with DHS or SSA in the past, or have a reason to believe that their records may not be accurate in either of those agencies, would benefit from using the E-Verify Self Check system to ensure that their records are proper and that a subsequent E-Verify check by an employer would likely be a positive one.