How Well Does E-Verify Perform

March 24, 2010

E-Verify is pretty close to perfect when it comes to confirming that authorized workers do indeed have the right to work. But it has only a 50-50 chance of catching unauthorized workers, according to a recent report, “Findings of the E-Verify Program Evaluation,” prepared for the Department of Homeland Security by Rockville, Maryland, research firm Westat.

In approximately 96 percent of the cases submitted from April through June 2008, “the E-Verify finding was consistent with the worker’s true employment-authorization status,” according to the 338-page report’s executive summary.

In about 3 percent of all E-Verify cases, unauthorized workers were incorrectly found to be work-authorized and 0.7 percent of authorized workers were initially, and incorrectly, deemed unauthorized to work.

Because of identity fraud, E-Verify only caught unauthorized workers 54 percent of the time. In about 3.3 percent of all cases, E-Verify incorrectly found that unauthorized workers were authorized for employment. In 2.9 percent of all E-Verify cases, unauthorized workers were correctly spotted.

“This finding is not surprising, given that since the inception of E-Verify it has been clear that many unauthorized workers obtain employment by committing identity fraud that cannot be detected by E-Verify,” the report said.”

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The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

Filed by Carroll Lachnit, executive editor of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail