E-Verify and the Form I-9
Employment Eligibility Verification
WHAT IS E-VERIFY?
E-Verify is an internet based verification system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA), that allows an employer, using information on an employee’s form I-9, to electronically verify employment eligibility. As of September 8, 2009, employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause are required to use E-Verify to determine eligibility of: 1) employees performing direct, substantial work under those federal contracts; and, 2) new hires organization wide, regardless of whether they are working on a federal contract.
Effective March 8, 2010, the Research Foundation (RF) at UAlbany is required by federal mandate to use the E-Verify system to check the legal status of all new hires. In addition to new hires, all existing employees (hired after November 6, 1986) directly assigned to covered federal contracts must also be run through E-Verify. Compliance with these regulations will be implemented by the pre and post award research offices. However, principal investigators will play a critical role in the process necessitated by these new E-Verify regulations.
HOW DOES E-VERIFY WORK?
E-Verify works by allowing employers to electronically compare employee information taken from the form I-9 against more than 425 million records in SSA’s data base and more than 60 million records in DHS’ immigration database.
WHAT ARE COVERED CONTRACTS?
Covered contracts are: federal contracts awarded or solicited after September 8, 2009 that meet the following criteria:
- Governed by FAR Clause 52.222-54
- Performance period longer than 120 days
- Value above $100,000
- Performed in the US
- Subcontracts are covered if:
- The federal contract is covered
- Subcontract is valued over $3,000
- Work is for services or construction
WHAT ARE THE NEW PROCEDURAL IMPLICATIONS?
- The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) will identify contracts subject to E-Verify. PIs and departments will receive a specific notice regarding obligations (in addition to this memo) that they are required to follow in order to comply with E-Verify.
- The RF is required to electronically verify work authorization for all newly hired employees (including students) within 72 hours (3 days) of the 1st day of work. In addition, all rehires with a break of 4 months must be E-Verified within 3 days. Sponsored Funds Personnel (SFP) will be responsible for performing verifications in the E-Verify system. This requirement applies to all SUNY faculty receiving summer salary through the RF payroll.
- It is critical that PIs complete and submit paperwork for new hires in a timely manner. Specifically, must be completed and received by SFP no later than one day after the date of hire so that verifications can be performed in the required timeframe. PIs should anticipate these requirements when making offers to potential employees. Departments can fax the I-9 AND appointment form to 437-4504. Upon receipt of faxed forms, SFP will send a confirmation of receipt of forms to the contact e-mail address listed on the appointment form.
- Existing RF employees, who become engaged in activity on a contract subject to E-Verify requirements, must be run through E-Verify within 30 calendar days of work on the contract. Labor Distribution forms must be submitted within 15 days of the assignment date in order to ensure compliance with E-Verify. New I-9 forms will be requested from employees who do not have updated information in order to avoid tentative non-confirmations from the E-Verify system.
- The E-Verify obligation extends to SUNY employees who are performing work directly on a covered contract and paid via IFR. Release Time Appointment requests must be submitted within 15 days of the assignment date in order to ensure compliance with E-Verify.
- The regulatory clock starts ticking at the time of hire (for new employees) or first day of work on a project (for existing employees), not from the date the RF administratively connects the person to the project. Therefore it is critical that PIs contact OSP if they intend to work on a Federal contract, and that all paperwork is completed and submitted in a timely matter.
- SFP will work directly with any employee that receives a non-confirmation of work authorization through E-Verify. The employee will be given the option to either contest the finding or not. In the event a final status of non-confirmation of work authorization is given, SFP will work directly with the employee and the department to terminate employment. The PI will be notified if there are problems with the E-Verify process for individuals working on a project.
- Contracts. Contracts for service and/or construction issued by the Research Foundation on a covered contract in excess of $3,000 must contain the E-Verify requirements. Contracts would include sub-awards, vendor contracts, as well as Independent Contractor contracts. Compliance with the E-Verify regulation is a condition of the award and must be satisfied prior to a procurement solicitation and/or subcontract execution.
WHAT ARE MY RESPONSIBILITIES AS A PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR?
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will be monitoring the E-Verify database for compliance. The ability of the SFP office to complete the E-Verify procedures for newly hired employees hinges not only upon timely receipt of the appropriate forms, but also upon the timely completion of a new hire’s I-9 (work authorization) form. Instructions for proper completion of form I-9 are located here.
Failure to properly notify the RF, via submittal of the appropriate forms, as soon as faculty, staff or student employees begin working on a covered federal contract or subcontract could have serious consequences to the RF and the PI, including penalties or being disqualified from receiving future Federal contracts.
If notifications are not made promptly, funds from other sources may be needed to pay employees for every day of work until the E-Verify process is completed.
Paperwork that is noncompliant will require the Operation Manager’s approval, as failure to properly use E-Verify can lead to penalties and debarment from federal contracts.
Employers may not verify newly hired employees selectively and cannot use the E-Verify system to pre-screen applicants for employment.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation in helping us comply with these requirements. Questions regarding the e-verify requirement should be directed to the appropriate offices:
Human Resources/Payroll Sponsored Funds Personnel (518) 437-4500
Independent Contractors Sponsored Funds Financial Management (518) 442-3196
Sub Awards/Sponsor Agreements Office for Sponsored Programs (518) 437-4550
Procurement of Services/Construction Office of Purchasing and Contracts (518) 437-4579