E-Verify, the federal employment verification database, has recently received high marks from U.S. businesses for its usability. Now, a new survey finds the program is also supported by small-business owners, who have urged called for employers across the country to be mandated to use E-Verify in some capacity.
Majority want required participation, but currently don't use E-Verify
The small-business support for E-Verify was recently uncovered in the 2013 Workforce and Immigration report released by the National Small Business Association, which found 56 percent of responding small-business owners back mandatory use of E-Verify. Just 24 percent said they do not support such a measure.
Survey results also indicated small-business owners would back E-Verify in greater numbers (67 percent) if the system was tweaked and improved to include more safe harbors for smaller organizations when authorizing employees through the database - primarily so that it would be less costly for firms to use.
Yet despite all the support for E-Verify voiced by small-business owners in the survey, many admitted they did not use it often: only 24 percent said they had heard of E-Verify and use it; 17.5 percent said they had never heard of it and 58.6 percent reported they knew of E-Verify but did not utilize it.
Other survey findings suggest small-business owners support E-Verify because of prior experiences with employment verification. Nearly 15 percent of respondents said they had been given fraudulent identification materials by an employee or prospective hire. While 65 percent said they had not encountered such a situation, slightly more than 20 percent said they were not sure if they had received falsified documentation.
Small-business owners also addressed what penalties should be enforced upon those that knowingly hire ineligible immigrants. Fifty-two percent said such employers should face fines, while 40 percent advocated for a first warning before any monetary punishment is enacted and 15 percent called for jail time for offending businesses.
When it came to filling out Form I-9s for employees, small-business owners said the most commonly used items to complete the document were a driver's license (84 percent), social security card (74 percent), birth certificate (28 percent), passport (20 percent) state ID card (15 percent) and visa (10 percent).
Employment verification compliance is a time-consuming and often labor-intensive process for small-business owners, but it cannot be taken lightly in any respect. Firms that need help fulfilling duties can work with an HR service provider to streamline verification operations.
Find out about Pre-employ's integrated electronic I-9 and E-Verify solution: