[Editor’s Note: today’s post is brought to you by guest blogger Katie Nokes Minervino, Associate Attorney in the Immigration Group at Pierce Atwood LLP. Katie assists employers and employees in employment authorization needs and provides clients with support and guidance on employment verification requirements, best practices, and audit response.]
So you’ve taken the plunge and enrolled in E-Verify. Here are best practice tips to avoid the less-obvious pitfalls of E-Verify use.
- Be aware that the government is looking over your shoulder. Through its E-Verify Monitoring and Compliance Branch, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is watching how employers use the system, issuing non-compliance notices to employers for suspected errors or misuse of the system, and in some cases sharing data with other government agencies for further independent investigations. Employers need to train and monitor their employees responsible for E-Verify use and keep updated on E-Verify related guidance.
- Hit the ground running. Although E-Verify is -- in most instances -- still voluntary, employers cannot enroll and then elect not to use the program. USCIS will note failure to use the program after enrolling as a red flag, resulting in increased scrutiny and possibly a non-compliance notice. If employers want to ease into the program, an acceptable approach is enrolling first at one, or a limited number, of hiring sites.
- Keep current on E-Verify-related guidance. Employers should regularly visit USCIS’s E-Verify home page and review available information to master the E-Verify basics and keep current on new guidance, such as recently released Self-Assessment Guides. E-Verify employers may want to also consider tracking other information sources like blogs and Twitter accounts focused on E-Verify-related issues.
- Continue monitoring federal contracts. Company-wide E-Verify use doesn’t exempt federal contractor employers (who, in certain circumstances, must use the E-Verify program) from complying with specific E-Verify requirements. (For example, federal contractors required to use E-Verify must also use the program for current employees assigned to work under the contract). E-Verify employers should continue to be on the lookout for an E-Verify provision in federal contracts and act accordingly.
- Evaluate newly acquired employees as “new hires” under E-Verify. Employers gain employees outside of the traditional hiring process, such as in mergers and acquisitions. Employers shouldn’t overlook any newly acquired employees and should consult with qualified counsel on questions regarding E-Verify use in mergers and acquisitions and any other less conventional “hiring” situations.
- Take care of personally identifiable information. Employers must obtain an employee’s social security number on Form I-9 in order to use E-Verify and should be sensitive to this and all personally identifiable information obtained in the employment verification process. Employers should keep Form I-9s with personally identifiable information stored in locked cabinets and take all necessary precautions under their current company practices and any applicable state and local laws.
Disclaimer: The content of this post does not constitute direct legal advice and is designed for informational purposes only. Information provided through this website should never replace the need for involving informed counsel on your employment and immigration issues.