E-Verify Gets E-asier For Employers

E-Verify Gets E-asier For Employers

By Timothy W. Moppin, Sarah R. Hartmann

Redesigned E-Verify System Simplifies the Process for Employers to Verify Employment Eligibility

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") has completely overhauled the web interface for its E-Verify Program. The changes to the system became effective on June 13, 2010. Any employers currently using E-Verify or who intend to sign up for E-Verify for employment verification should be aware of the changes outlined below.

E-Verify allows participating employers to electronically verify the eligibility of their new hires to work in the U.S. by searching millions of records maintained by the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. Currently, federal contractors are required to use E-Verify. It's still voluntary for most other employers.

The primary focus of the overhaul of the E-Verify system was to streamline the web interface and improve navigational tools in order to make the system more user-friendly and minimize errors. Specific changes to the system include the following:

  • Clear and simple language is now used in multiple locations on the site to describe functions which previously generated a lot of confusion for users, such as using the phrase "create a case" rather than "initiate a query," or "close a case" rather than "resolve a case;"
  • Customer support has been expanded;
  • Enhanced security features include a new home page, which displays the user's ID and last login date and time (social security numbers are now masked); 
  • New "case alerts" feature alerts the user when the user is required to take action or when there's an update in the status of a case (the E-Verify system does not yet have the capability to e-mail users when there is an update to a case, but USCIS is investigating solutions to facilitate e-mail alerts); 
  • New tutorials are available for users;
  • Program administrators can now download their electronically signed Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU").

Employers that are currently enrolled in E-Verify will be required to complete a 20-minute updated tutorial of the new system.

There are many benefits to employers using E-Verify, including a reduced risk of exposure to fines in an I-9 audit if a query comes back clear, and greater assurance that the documents presented are valid. However, there are risks as well, including an increased risk of an I-9 audit based on the terms of the MOU that employers are required to sign in order to use E-Verify.

More information on the changes to E-Verify is available at www.dhs.gov/E-Verify.


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