What is the E-Verify program?
E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that allows employers to verify the employment eligibility of their employees, regardless of citizenship. Based on the information provided by the employee on his or her Form I-9, E-Verify performs an electronic check of this information against records contained in DHS and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases.
Why is the University of Washington beginning to use E-Verify?
Executive Order 13465, signed by President George W. Bush on June 6, 2006, requires that institution of higher education entering into federal contracts use the E-Verify system to establish the employment eligibility of newly hired and current employees who directly perform work on a contract that includes the E-Verify clause. Although initial implementation of the Executive Order was put on hold pending resolution of a variety of court challenges, the regulation is currently scheduled to go into effect on September 8, 2009.
What is the E-Verify clause?
The E-Verify clause requires, as a condition of the contract, that the employer use E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of newly hired and current employees assigned to the federal contract.
What types of contracts will include the requirement to use E-Verify?
The E-Verify requirement will be included in:
- All prime federal contracts with
- a period of performance longer than 120 days, or
- a value above the simplified acquisition threshold of $100,000; and
- All subcontracts for services or for construction with a value over $3000
Federal contracts and solicitations issued after September 8, 2009 (or such other later date to be determined), will include a clause committing/requiring the University of Washington to use E-Verify for newly hired and current employees assigned to the contract.
Current Federal indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts in place prior to September 8, 2009, may be modified by the federal contracting agency and the UW, in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) 1.108(d)(3) to add the E-Verify clause for future orders. The FAR rule provides that if the contract’s remaining period of performance extends at least six months after the final rule effective date September 8, 2009 (or such other later date to be determined) and the amount of work or number of orders expected under the remaining performance period is “substantial,” then the contract should be modified to include the clause. New E-Verify requirements will not apply to current contracts until and unless the terms of the contract are changed by the federal agency to incorporate the E-Verify clause.
What types of contracts are exempt from the E-Verify Program?
- Contracts for less than the simplified acquisition threshold ($100,000) and for subcontracts for less than $3,000
- Contracts lasting less than 120 days
- Unmodified contracts that were in place prior to September 8, 2009
- Contracts that include only commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) items
- Contracts where all work is performed outside the United States (includes all 50 states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands)
- Cooperative agreements
How will I know my federal contract is subject to E-Verify?
Covered contracts will include a specific clause that specifies the requirement to use E-Verify. The Office of Sponsored Project will notify departments when they have a contract that includes the E-Verify requirement after the contract is fully executed.
How will the University be able to identify budgets for contracts that include the E-Verify requirement?
Grant flag 3 in the Financial Accounting System (FAS) will identify budgets requiring E-Verify. Grant and Contract Accounting (GCA) staff will set the flag when the budget is set-up in FAS. Grant flag 3 will also be visible in MyFD.
When is the University of Washington required to enroll in E-Verify?
The UW is required to enroll in E-Verify within thirty (30) calendar days after the UW signs a federal contract or subcontract that requires participation in E-Verify as a term of the contract.
II. Employees Covered by E-Verify Requirements
Which employees must my department check through the E-Verify system?
Departments are required to use E-Verify to check employment eligibility of all newly hired and current employees who are directly performing work in the United States under a contract that includes the E-Verify clause. Three narrow exceptions to this requirement are described below.
Are there any exceptions to the E-Verify requirements?
Yes. Employees directly performing work on a covered contract are exempt from E-Verify requirements if the employee
- Has been continuously employed at the UW since November 6, 1986; or
- Holds an active U.S. Government security clearance of confidential, secret or top secret; or
- Has had a background investigation completed and credentials issued pursuant to Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD)-12
When is an employee considered to be is “directly performing work” on a contract and therefore covered by the E-Verify requirement?
- An employee is covered by the E-Verify requirement if the employee:
- Has any salary distribution on the budget assigned to a contract that contains the E-Verify clause; or
- Is part of a cost share agreement with a federal contract that contains the E-Verify clause; or
- Is paid directly from an agency for work performed on a federal contract that contains the E-Verify clause
What employees are not considered to be directly performing work under a contract and therefore excluded from the E-Verify requirement?
Employees who normally perform support work, such as indirect or overhead functions, and do not perform any substantial duties applicable to the contract, are excluded. In addition, working on a proposal, as opposed to working on an awarded contract, does not constitute work under the contract in question and is not covered by E-Verify requirements.
What if an employee is working on a contract for a minimal amount of time? Is he or she covered by the E-Verify requirement?
Yes. The requirements do not exempt employees based on the intermittent nature of the work or the amount of time spent performing the work. Any employee assigned to the contract is normally covered by the E-Verify requirements. The only exceptions are addressed in a question above .
Is the department/university required to provide any notification to employees or applicants regarding the E-Verify process?
Yes, recruitments for positions subject to the E-Verify requirement must indicate this in the UWHIRES requisition. Notice of the E-Verify requirement will be included in the job’s posting on the UW employment website. Academic appointments will state in the recruitment and offer letter that a successful E-Verify result is required.
The University must also post a notice from the Department of Homeland Security indicating the institution’s participation in the E-Verify program in addition to a related anti-discrimination notice issued by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices at the Department of Justice.
Will UW use E-Verify to check employment eligibility of other employees or only those who are assigned to covered federal contracts?
UW will only use E-Verify where required by terms of the federal contract. It is not to be used for other positions or reasons with written permission from the Office of Sponsored Projects. The Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, investigates and prosecutes inappropriate use of E-Verify and may issue monetary and non-monetary penalties up to and including prohibiting the UW from receipt of any federal funding.
III. How and When to Access and Use E-Verify
When does the department need to initiate an E-Verify inquiry?
A department must initiate an e-Verify check no later than the end of three (3) business days after the employee’s actual start date. The check may not be initiated until after the candidate has accepted the job offer and after the Form I-9 has been completed.
For current employees working on a contract covered by E-Verify requirements, departments are required to initiate the E-Verify check within ninety (90) calendar days after contract award.
Note: When adding an already existing E-Verify budget to a current employee, the E-Verify must be done within thirty (30) days after assignment to the contract.
May my department use E-Verify prior to making a job offer to a job applicant?
No. Federal regulations prohibit prospective employers from using E-Verify prior to the applicant’s acceptance of a job offer. However, after the employee has both accepted the job offer and filled out the Form I-9, the department may use E-Verify to confirm a newly hired employee’s employment status before his/her start date.
How does my department gain access to the E-Verify system to begin employment verification?
Contact the Office of Sponsor Programs (OSP):
What if my department would prefer to register on our own, may we?
No – DO NOT REGISTER ON YOUR OWN. The University of Washington will register centrally.
Are there training opportunities for my department regarding the E-Verify program?
Yes. The Payroll Office will provide just-in-time training to departments. Contact the Payroll Office Client Services & Training Team, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206-543-9202
What information do I need to have in order to complete verification through E-Verify for a newly hired or current employee?
In order to check employment eligibility using E-Verify, you will need the following information from Sections 1 and 2 of the Form I-9:
- Employee’s name
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Citizenship status employee attests to
- A# or I-94# if applicable
- Document type(s) submitted for Form I-9
- Expiration dates for identification and eligibility documents
Current employees not otherwise exempt from E-Verify must fill out a new Form I-9 with the same information as above.
What does my department do if the newly hired employee does not yet have a Social Security Number (SSN)?
The E-Verify system requires that the new employee have a valid SSN. If a newly hired employee does not yet have an SSN, complete the Form I-9 process as required and then wait until the employee obtains a SSN before running the E-Verify inquiry. Note on the Form I-9 form why you have not yet run the E-Verify query, and instruct the employee to provide you with the new SSN as soon as possible. In the meantime, because you will have completed the I-9 process with that new employee to verify work authorization, your employee is allowed to work temporarily without the SSN or the E-Verify system result. The Form I-9 must be sent to Payroll with the note about the SSN. The E-Verify results should be sent to the Payroll Office as soon as available.
If an employee has a one-word legal name (so, not a “first” name + “last” name), how do I enter it into the E-Verify system?
When the employee only has one legal name, enter “unknown” into the “first name” block, and the one legal name into the “last name” block. If the employee only has one initial for a first name, enter a period after the initial in the “first name” block.
What documentation does my department need to keep indicating that I initiated a query in E-Verify for a newly hired or current employee?
When employment is authorized by the E-Verify system, your department must print out and attach the case detail page to the Form I-9 and submit the documents to the Payroll Office.
Does E-Verify certify the immigration status of a new hire who is not a U.S. citizen?
No; E-Verify only confirms a new hire’s employment eligibility, not his or her immigration status.
IV. Employees with Prior E-Verify Checks
One of my employees was run through E-Verify by a previous employer. Do I need to run this employee through E-Verify again?
Yes. Each federal contractor is required to enter the worker’s identity and employment eligibility information into the E-Verify system following completion of the Form I-9 at the time of hire.
One of my employees was previously run through E-Verify while employed at the UW. Do I need to run this employee through E-Verify again? Are there any exceptions?
No. As long as the employee has been continuously employed since the earlier E-Verify confirmation, you should not conduct another verification. However, if the employee is being rehired following separation, a new I-9 is required, and, if the employee will be assigned to a covered contract, a new E-Verify check is also required.
How will I know if another UW department has previously verified an employee’s employment eligibility using E-Verify?
A new E-Verify flag will appear in the OPUS employee overview screen along with the rest of the I-9 information. For privacy reasons, the field will only indicate whether or not the employee’s eligibility has been confirmed using the E-Verify system. The Case Verification Number will not appear in OPUS, but will be stored in HEPPS for central office use
V. Handling Results from E-Verify
How quickly will E-Verify provide a confirmation of work authorization?
The E-Verify system compares the employee’s information against both the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security databases and a confirmation will be generated in three to five seconds. A discrepancy with one or both databases may result in a tentative non-confirmation and E-Verify will prompt you to review the submitted information to assure its accuracy.
What information is included the result from an E-Verify check?
- If the system check confirms employment authorization, the case details page will indicate: Employment Authorized.
- If the system check does not confirm employment authorization, the report will indicate: SSA Tentative Non-confirmation or DHS Verification in Process or DHS Tentative Non-confirmation.
What does my department do if I receive a tentative non-confirmation?
First make sure that the data was entered correctly. A department representative must inform the employee of the tentative non-confirmation result and find out whether the employee intends to contest the results. The E-Verify system will generate a form titled “Notice to Employee of Tentative Non-confirmation” that must be signed by both the employee and a department representative. The employee must complete the form, making a check mark to record his or her decision to contest or not to contest the result. A copy of the letter should be sent to the Payroll Office and the department should notify HR/AHR of the employee’s decision.
What does my department do if the employee chooses to contest the tentative non confirmation result?
- If the employee chooses to contest the non-confirmation, he or she is entitled to continue working during the contest period. Prior to a final non-confirmation, no adverse action, including suspension or termination, may be taken against the employee.
- The department must give the employee the referral directing the employee to either the Social Security Administration or the Department of Homeland Security (depending on the type of document at issue).
How is a Social Security Administration (SSA) non-confirmation resolved?
- To resolve a tentative non-confirmation from the SSA the employee must contact the SSA within 8 federal work days. SSA will automatically issue a final non-confirmation 10 federal work days after issuance of the referral if the employee fails to meet this deadline. The department must close out the E-Verify case with a “Final Non-confirmation.” A copy of the final notice should be sent to the Payroll Office.
- In some instances, the SSA needs more than 10 federal work days to resolve a case. In those instances, the SSA will notify the department that the case is still pending.
How is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) non-confirmation resolved?
- To resolve a DHS discrepancy the employee must contact the DHS within 8 federal work days.
- The DHS will automatically issue a final non-confirmation, a “DHS No-Show”, if 10 federal work days have passed since the referral and the employee has not contacted the DHS. The department must close out the E-Verify case with a “Final Non-confirmation.” A copy of the final notice should be sent to the Payroll Office.
- The DHS will respond to most of its referral cases within 24 hours, although some responses may take up to 3 federal work days. In some cases, the DHS needs more than 10 federal work days to resolve employment eligibility and the department will receive a “Case in Continuance” response. DHS will notify the department when the verification process is complete.
What if the employee chooses not to contest the tentative non-confirmation?
With either an SSA or DHS referral, if the employee chooses not to contest, have them check the form and sign it. Then the department must resolve the case in the E-Verify system. If the employee does not contest, the department must choose “Unauthorized/terminated” and terminate the employee. The department must send a copy of the letter to the Payroll Office and contact HR/AHR for assistance with the separation action.
VI. About I-9s
Is the Form I-9 still required?
Yes. E-Verify does not replace Form I-9 requirements. Departments hiring employees covered under federal contracts will be required to have the employee complete Form I-9 and verify their employment eligibility using E-Verify.
Will the University of Washington require a new Form I-9 for a current employee?
A new Form I-9 is required for all employees subject to E-Verify.
Must my department make copies of documents presented for Form I-9 purposes?
The E-Verify system requires employers to make and attach copies of Permanent Resident Cards and Employment Authorization Cards but only if they are presented by the new employee as their freely chosen documents for completion of Section 2 of the Form I-9. E-Verify does not require that copies of any other documents be made or kept.
VII. Penalties and Enforcement
Can the department be fined or accessed penalties not verifying employment eligibility?
Department can be fined up to $550-$1,100 for failing to verify employment eligibility with the three business days of employment.
Does participation in E-Verify provide a “safe harbor” from worksite immigration enforcement actions?
No; however, an employer who verifies work authorization using E-Verify is presumed to not have knowingly hired an unauthorized worker.