Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What is E-Verify and Who Does it Apply To?

E-Verify is a federal government database that allows users to check whether workers are authorized to legally work in the United States. 

Federal agencies must use E-Verify:  As a federal law, E-Verify requires the following:
  • Federal contractors:  Federal agencies must require that companies with federal contracts over $100,000 check the employment status of their employees.
  • Federal employees:  Federal agencies must use E-Verify as part of their own hiring practices.
Companies with contracts with state and local governments are not required by federal law to use E-Verify, but may be required to comply with E-Verify under certain state laws.   

What state and local governments require E-Verify?  Several states have voluntarily chosen to require use of E-Verify. 
  • Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Alabama require all employers to use it, while other states use it in a more limited capacity.
  • In Washington state, E-Verify isn’t required for companies with contracts with the state or most local governments.   
  • According to Washington state legislative staff, the following cities and counties in Washington have independently required use of E-Verify: Cities of Centralia, Chehalis, Kennewick, Lakewood, Napavine, Sumner, Washougal; Counties of Clark, Cowitz, Lewis, Pierce, Whatcom.
  • Legislation was introduced in 2012 in the Washington Legislature (not approved) that would have prohibited the state and municipalities from using E-Verify unless required by federal regulations.
Does E-Verify work?  One of the concerns expressed about E-Verify is that its results are often not accurate.  According to one study conducted for the federal government, E-Verify is estimated to be 96% accurate based on all inquiries. Approximately 6.2% of all inquiries relate to unauthorized workers, and of this percentage a total of 54% of these inquiries resulted in unauthorized workers who were inaccurately given a green light. Less than 1% of the authorized workers checked against E-Verify are initially found to be unauthorized to work. 

Resources:  The following links provide more information about the E-Verify program:
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog 
© 2012 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC 

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