E-Verify, the national database that can be used by employers to check work authorization, will soon be available for individuals to verify their own information in advance of applying for a job.
The new service, called "Self-Check" will roll out March 21, 2011, but only in five States (not including Iowa). New States will be added as the system is perfected.
Self-Check will be available only for individuals to check their own employment eligibility, and cannot be mandated by an employer or other organization as a term of employment. Security features are in place to prevent fraudulent use of the system.
The system could be useful to make sure that Social Security and Immigration records are up to date in advance of applying for employment. An employer is not allowed to use a Self-Check confirmation to complete an I-9 or as a substitute for E-Verify. But a prior successful Self-Check could help applicants know that they are authorized to work and to sort out verification problems.
The system is not perfect, similar to E-Verify itself. For instance, recently-admitted refugees and people with work visas will have trouble with the Self-Check just as they are currently experiencing trouble with E-Verify. According to USCIS, the agency that operates E-Verify, these problems are caused by delay in database updates among different agencies involved in the admissions process.
Watch for updates regarding employment verification developments as this is a focus area for the Department of Homeland Security.