Secrets of the Job Hunt


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New Employee Verification Act Explained

Recently a bill was introduced by Rep. Sam Johnson to make it possible for employers to conduct employment verification to check the legal status of their workers using a new electronic system using expanded state databases. The proposed New Employee Verification Act seeks to replace the Homeland Security Department's current E-Verify system, which began 10 years ago as a voluntary pilot program.

With the E-Verify system employers check potential new employees against the databases of the Social Security Administration and Homeland Security. According to critics, this system has serious errors that could potentially result in discrimination against millions of people if the system was made mandatory instead of voluntary. Because of this, Illinois adopted a law last year that prohibited use of the E-Verify system.

The new Electronic Employment Verification System, which is supported by the Human Resource Initiative for a Legal Workforce coalition, would be created based on databases operated in each state. The data received from individual state's would be matched with data in the Social Security database, for citizens, and in the Homeland Security databases, for non-citizens. This bill would allow biometrics to be added voluntarily.

In a recent news release Johnson said, "a voluntary system would be created using the latest technology to authenticate and protect a worker's identity." He went on to say that "private-sector companies, certified by the federal government, would first verify work authorization in the Electronic Employment Verification System, but would also authenticate the identity of employees by utilizing existing background check and document screening tools. The identity would then be secured through a biometric identifier, such as a fingerprint or eye scan."

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