Within the coming days, President Obama is expected to sign legislation that includes an extension of E-Verify, the Federal government’s voluntary, web-based system that allows employers to confirm employees’ work eligibility.
The bill will extend E-Verify through September 2012. SHRM has been critical of the E-Verify program, which was scheduled to expire on October 31, 2009, because it can be inaccurate and unreliable. Also, E-Verify can be undermined by identify theft and false documents. When this occurs, employers and HR professionals can be subject to unfair penalties for mistakes.
The three-year extension is included in a large spending bill, the Fiscal Year 2010 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, H.R. 2892.
It’s important to note that in drafting the final bill, Congress chose to remove a Senate-approved provision that would have made E-Verify permanent. (Senator Jeff Sessions, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was the leading advocate for making E-Verify a permanent program.) Instead, the three-year extension was adopted. This shows that some Members of Congress continue to have concerns about E-Verify.
SHRM continues to advocate for the passage of H.R. 2028, the “New Employee Verification Act” (NEVA). The legislation, introduced by Representatives Sam Johnson (R-TX) and Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and supported by the SHRM-led “HR Initiative for a Legal Workforce,” would replace E-Verify with a paperless and more reliable, fraud-proof 21st Century verification system.
For more information on NEVA and the Employment Verification issue, please click HERE.