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Immigration Law

The Costs to Employers of E-Verify: It is Free, But How Affordable Is It?

Greenberg Traurig

By Dawn Lurie and Kevin Lashus

Attorneys from Greenberg Traurig's Business Immigration & Compliance practice group have written a piece on what the costs are of using E-Verify to check whether employees are permitted to work in this country. This piece can help attorneys advise clients on an important decision, because an increasing number of local, state, and federal officials are expanding the need to at least consider using E-Verify.

The authors write:

According to Bloomberg's estimates, assuming E-Verify costs remained constant during the time frame (and usage of the system was adjusted for growth), employers spent an estimated $95 million in fiscal 2010 to participate "for free" in E-Verify.

Businesses with fewer than 500 workers bear the greatest cost burden because the fixed costs are spread over fewer hires. The Bloomberg report concluded that E-Verify cost small businesses in 2008 an average of $127 to run each new hire query [and to respond in a timely manner to a TNC/final non-confirmation (FNC) situation], compared with $63 for all firms. Projected outward, Bloomberg calculated that those figures would be $147 and $73, respectively.

In summary: "Businesses with fewer than 500 workers bear the greatest burden (of such a proposal), according to the data, spending about $2.6 billion a year to use the government's web-based verification system, E-Verify, compared with less than $100 million for those that used it in 2010."

That is "billion" with a B. In a recent survey commissioned by the government, Westat reported that employers spent about $43 million in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, to interact with the employment verification program.

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This GT Alert was written by Dawn M. Lurie and Kevin Lashus. Questions about this information can be directed to: Dawn M. Lurie - 703.903.7527 / 202.331.3185 | · Kevin Lashus - 512.320.7219 |

Related Immigration Resources:

Additional commentary on this issue is available in:
Harry Asatrian & Ainsley Harrell, To E-Verify or Not to E-Verify, 2009 Emerging Issues 4512.

Charles H. Kuck and Marc R. Amos: Backgrounder on the E-Verify Employment Eligibility Verification Program, 2008 Emerging Issues 2125.

Lynda S. Zengerle on United States v. Illinois Decision Striking Down Law Restricting E-Verify Use, 2009 Emerging Issues 3500.

Ann Allott on Grassley Amendment Allowing E-Verify for Existing Employees, 2009 Emerging Issues 4022.

The New E-Verify -- Ready or Not, Things Have Changed, 2010 Emerging Issues 5177.

The Crackdown on Employment of Illegal Immigrants Spreads to California: Murrieta and Temecula Join Growing List of Southern California Cities Requiring Employers to Use E-Verify, 2011 Emerging Issues 5483.

E-Verify is discussed extensively in Ann Allott et al., Immigration Enforcement: I-9 Compliance Handbook § 5.04.

On the general topic of employment verification while avoiding discrimination and other prohibited practices, consult Charles Gordon, Stanley Mailman and Stephen Yale Loehr, Immigration Law and Procedure §§ 7.03 to 7.07.

The crucial statute is INA § 274A, 8 U.S.C. § 1324a.

The key regulation is at 8 C.F.R. § 274a.2.

The official USCIS E-Verify web page.

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