I-9 Verification – An Extra Step for Safety

Your candidate’s background check is done. An offer of employment has been made and accepted. But there is one last step you can take to keep your workplace safe.

I-9 Verification.

The I-9 process itself has been required by the U.S. government for years. New procedures have been created by the federal Department of Homeland Security since September 11, 2001, that offer additional checks to actually verify the identity of the person who has applied for work.

The voluntary I-9 verification process is one of these new safety features. This matches up the Social Security Number with the name provided by your candidate and updates the Dept. of Homeland Security on the documents presented by the candidate for verification.

Last month, our newsletter talked about the Social Security Trace, which is an “Address Locator Tool.” The Social Trace can tell you whether the Social Security Number is valid, but federal law prohibits matching up the name and the number until after the candidate has been “hired.”

One advantage: the definition of “hired” is that you have made an offer of employment and it has been accepted. Thus you can do the I-9 verification with the Dept. of Homeland Security before the “new hire” reports for his or her first day of work.

E-Verify – formerly known as the Basic Pilot/Employment Eligibility Verification Program – is an internet based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.

E-Verify is free and voluntary and is the best means available for determining employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security Numbers. And beginning this month, the E-Verify system includes citizenship status of naturalized U.S. citizens.

If you don’t wish to perform the I-9 Verification yourself, you can designate an authorized Background Screening Firm to act as your agent with the federal government for the verification process. Setup takes about three weeks (because you’re dealing with the federal government) and then once you have authorized an agent for the I-9 verification, the verification with the Dept. of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration takes just one day.

I-9 Verification is separate from Pre-Employment Background Screening because it can only occur post-hire.

ESR is an authorized agent in the I-9 Verification process and offers this service for clients at a nominal fee. ESR Customer Service can explain the various steps required to set up and complete the I-9 agent verification.