Effective January 1st, 2007, the State of North Carolina enacted legislation mandating participation in the E-Verify program for all State agencies, including its public universities and community colleges.
The E-Verify Program
The E-Verify program is an Internet-based system, administered by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services-Verification Division (USCIS), through which US employers may verify the employment eligibility of their employees post-hire. This program was authorized by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA).
The E-Verify program is closely linked with USCIS Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) and exists to strengthen the verification process that all employers, by law, must follow. E-Verify compares information entered from an employee’s I-9 to data contained in US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records to confirm US work authorization. Of all employees whose US work authorization is checked through the E-Verify system, 97% are confirmed automatically as eligible to work in the United States.
UNC Charlotte Access to E-Verify
After UNC Charlotte registered to gain access to the E-Verify system, the University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that provides the terms of agreement between UNC Charlotte, the Social Security Administration, and the US Department of Homeland Security.
At UNC Charlotte, there are approximately ten (10) users spread between two (2) primary departments (Human Resources and International Student/Scholars’ Office) who are authorized to complete I-9 forms and to access the E-Verify system. All system users must complete an online tutorial prior to initiating queries in the E-Verify system.
Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), authorized users must initiate all E-Verify queries within three (3) days of the new employee’s official date of hire (in accordance with existing I-9 mandates). E-Verify queries must be initiated for all new hires of the University and may not be used selectively. Additionally, the E-Verify system may not be queried to verify US work authorization for University employees hired prior to January 1, 2007 - unless so stipulated in federal contracts or subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause.
The E-Verify system requires all queries to be entered with the new employee’s valid Social Security Number (SSN). New employees who have not yet applied for, or received, their Social Security Number (international students or scholars) may not be entered into the E-Verify system until they are in receipt of their respective SSN. All such employees are strongly encouraged to visit Human Resources (with their newly assigned Social Security card/number) as soon as it has been received.
Confirmations and Non-Confirmations
In the vast majority of cases (97%), E-Verify system queries return an instantaneous result of ‘Employment Authorized’. However, should system queries result in one of the following statuses: ‘SSA Tentative Non-Confirmation’; ‘DHS Tentative Non-Confirmation’; or ‘DHS Verification in Progress’; authorized system users are available to advise campus constituents as to the most appropriate means of resolution.
‘SSA Tentative Non-Confirmation’ results may affect both US citizens or permanent residents and foreign nationals alike. Such status is results from typographical errors or misinformation entered into the SSA database at some point in the SSN application process. Failure to initiate name changes in a timely manner may also factor into a status of this nature. Successful resolution of a ‘SSA Non-Confirmation’ status generally involves a direct visit to a local SSA office with all appropriate forms of identification.
It is important to note that the issue resolution process is time-sensitive. Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), affected employees are required to initiate action with either the SSA or DHS (depending upon the agency of record) within eight (8) federal work days. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in an employee’s loss of employment.
UNC Charlotte experiences numerous non-confirmations at the start of each semester when international faculty and students are beginning employment assignments and/or assistantships. ‘DHS Tentative Non-Confirmation’ and ‘DHS Verification in Progress’ results impact international faculty and student employees almost exclusively. Should system queries result in one of the aforementioned statuses, authorized system users are available to advise campus constituents as to the most appropriate means of resolution. Successful resolution of these statuses generally involves direct contact with DHS representatives via a 1-888 telephone number.
E-Verify and SEVIS
At UNC Charlotte, the International Student/Scholar Office maintains responsibility for the maintenance and update of the SEVIS system, as well as, oversight of the I-9 and E-Verify processes for all international students. Upon initial entry to the US, and first arrival on the UNC Charlotte campus, all international students or scholars (F-1 or J-1 visa status) must visit the International Student/Scholar Office (CHHS 202) to be entered into the SEVIS system.
If this system is not updated in a timely manner, then any query to the E-Verify system, which extracts some of its information from the SEVIS database, will automatically return a ‘DHS Verification in Progress’ result for all unregistered international student employee. Within 24 hours, the employee’s status will be changed to ‘DHS Tentative Non-Confirmation’. Resolution of this issue may only occur after the international employment has been appropriately entered into SEVIS. For more information regarding SEVIS, please contact the International Student/Scholar Office at 704-687-7781.
To learn more about E-Verify, please contact USCIS at 1-888-464-4218.