Employers Flocking to Federal Security Database

July 25, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - With continued government pressure to properly screen job applicants as a part of the nation's war on terror, more employers are utilizing a federal database to check the legal status of prospective new hires.

According to the Salem (Oregon) Statesman Journal, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which administers the Basic Pilot Program, said about 2,000 new employers nationwide have registered for the free service since September, bringing the number of participating businesses to more than 10,000. USCIS officials said that figure was about 8,000 last year, the newspaper reported.

Participating employers, who must enroll through the Department of Homeland Security, are required to enter all new employees’ I-9 form information, which includes the employee’s name and Social Security number, into the Basic Pilot software. The search compares the information against more than 425 million records in the Social Security Administration (SSA) database and 60 million records in the Department of Homeland Security database, according to the news report.

The program, according to the government:

  • Removes guesswork from document review during the Form I-9 process,
  • Allows participating employers to confirm employment eligibility of all newly hired employees, and
  • Improves the accuracy of wage and tax reporting.

The employer has immediate confirmation if the DHS and SSA databases verify the information is correct. The employer receives a tentative non-confirmation if the information does not register as correct, and the employer is responsible for straightening out their records with SSA and DHS, according to the government.

The Basic Pilot Program has been available on the Internet using a Web-Based Access method since December 2004.

Electronic Notification

Some recent enhancements of the program include:

  • Participants register on the Internet: Individuals will receive confirmation of their company’s participation in the Basic Pilot via e-mail, as well as a new User ID and temporary password. Employers are required to complete the Web-Based Tutorial to become familiar with the policies of the program before gaining access to the Web Basic Pilot Program.
  • Internet training: Once the Web-Based Tutorial is completed, employers can begin performing verification queries.
  • New user types: Three new user types – Program Administrator, General User, Corporate Administrator – have been created to perform different functions.
  • View and print reports: These reports provide statistics on the queries performed by the user(s) within the company.
  • Internet resources: Includes resources, such as a guide to selected travel and identity documents, and basic pilot notices to be posted in a company’s hiring area, to assist in immigration-related matters.

“Participation in the employment-verification program is the solution for businesses committed to maintaining a legal workforce,” said USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez to the Statesman Journal. “In the process, we’re protecting jobs for authorized US workers.”

The Basic Pilot Employment Verification Program, which expanded into a nationwide service in 2004, began in 1996 under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act and was initially available to employers in only six states (California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Texas and later Nebraska) to verify the worker status of new employees.

For more information on the Basic Pilot Program, call the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program at 1-888-464-4218, or go to http://www.uscis.gov/graphics/services/SAVE.htm#two .