As we begin 2012, staffing providers should take a closer look at changes to E-Verify as well as new fines and initiatives from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Fines from ICE for employing illegal workers continue to increase. In the 2010 fiscal year, U.S. immigration officials’ work site probes resulted in a record $36.6 million in judicial fines, forfeitures, and restitution. 2011 numbers have not been published. As we reported earlier this year, ICE has began increasing the number of audits to U.S. employers. Although there has been no formal announcement, there is reason to believe that ICE is conducting a new round of audits and according to the American Staffing Association (ASA), “legal analysts estimate that several hundred employers nationwide will be receiving notices of inspection (NOIs).”
Additionally, E-Verify is becoming increasingly mandatory. When last reviewed, E-Verify was required in nine states for all or most employers. An ASA article explores how in Tennessee, for example, businesses that employ 500 or more people are now required to either use E-Verify to check the citizenship status of newly hired employees or else ask for and keep a file copy of verifying documents. Due to the nature of the staffing industry, companies process more inquiries than a traditional employer would.
While the increased administrative burden of processing the Form I9 through E-Verify may make some employers uneasy, there is good news. The administrative burden can be minimized by setting up web services for E-Verify processing. However, the bad news is that taking on the task of developing on-going web integration with E-verify is not as simple as you may wish.
Tim Prokuski, Seaton IT architect, explains, “Currently E-Verify integration compatibility requires changes on a biannual time-frame. Twice a year the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) publishes an updated integration specification along with a mandatory compliance date. Any participant not in compliance by the stated date can be shut off from E-Verify integration. As each E-Verify update has a new interface and additional functionality, the updates always require modifications to the internal system integration programs. Each version of E-Verify varies and there are generally a significant amount of programming changes and testing required within internal systems to achieve compliance. Additionally, each upgrade requires internal systems to pass a certification process conducted in partnership with DHS. At this point E-Verify is still an evolving program which requires internal systems to evolve along with it.”
As things in our industry are constantly changing, it is important to remain aware of updates to E-Verify and ICE policy to keep your company and your clients compliant with the law. In lieu of setting up a potentially complicated internal E-Verify integration, Staff Management | SMX has experience in acting as our client’s designated agent to implement and administer the E-Verify system. To learn more about our experience in implementing and administrating Department of Homeland Security vetted E-Verify workforce authorization and verification process, please visit www.staffmanagement.com/staffing/E-Verify-Administration.aspx.