11 February 2011

Push to make US Visa E-Verify checks mandatory

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The voluntary program that lets employers check the US Visa and immigration status of potential workers should be made mandatory, Representative Elton Gallegly said yesterday.

US Visa

Representative Elton Gallegly has proposed to make online US Visa checks mandatory.

Gallegly, who is chair of a congressional immigration policy subcommittee, said he is preparing legislation that would make it mandatory for businesses to check the US Visa details of potential employees through the E-Verify program before they are hired.

E-Verify program is a free online system that allows employers to check the immigration status of a job applicant within a few seconds. The program is voluntary for businesses but mandatory for federal agencies and some federal contractors.

It is estimated only 11 per cent of the 7.7 million employers in the country use the system.

Democrats have warned that making the E-Verify program mandatory without also undertaking broader immigration reform could be devastating, particularly to the agricultural sector that relies heavily on an immigrant workforce.

Enforcement without broader immigration reform would only further push undocumented workers into the shadows and workers who are now paying taxes would disappear into the underground economy. This would empower bad employers and endanger everyone, Representative John Conyers said.

The E-Verify system works by checking a potential worker's name, date of birth and Social Security number against Social Security records and Department of Homeland Security databases.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their  US Visa to the US Embassy.

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