Half a Million Employers now using E-Verify

We’ve just heard from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that as of the end of 2013, half a million employers are now using E-Verify, at 1.5 million worksites.

As you know, E-Verify is the USCIS web-based service that employers use to confirm their new hires are authorized to work in the US. Right now, except for federal contractors/subcontractors in certain situations, the US government does not mandate the use of E-Verify. Federal legislation has been proposed to change this, but as of today regulation of E-Verify is up to the states. It is up to each state government to decide how it wants to influence or regulate the use of E-Verify for employers in the state.

If you work for a large, multi-state employer, you probably know how difficult it can be to keep abreast of the current and proposed laws that might affect you in each state where you have offices. (This E-Verify Laws Map might be helpful to you).

About 30% of states mandate that some private employers use E-Verify, typically those working state contracts, or those with more than a certain number of employees. Only four states today require all employers to process new hires through E-Verify (Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina). Three others require all employers over a certain size to use E-Verify (those who employ above 10 in Georgia, 15 in Utah, and 25 in North Carolina). Given this, at least some of the 500,000 employers who use E-Verify are doing so voluntarily.

An increasing number of employers who use Tracker’s I-9 & E-Verify solution voluntarily E-Verify all new hires, even at stores/restaurants/offices located in states with no mandate. These customers are taking the sound position that it will pay to be ahead of the curve on compliance, especially since there seems to be a broad base of support for a nationwide E-Verify mandate. The Tracker customers who’ve had to go through audits with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were richly rewarded for their commitment to compliance when they passed the ICE inspection with ease.

Speaking of audits, we recently supported a customer through a state audit of their E-Verify records. While we’ve supported a good number of customers through ICE I-9 audits, this was the first time we’ve been involved in a state audit of E-Verify records. We will keep you posted if we start seeing a trend.

If your organization is not yet using E-Verify, you may find this paper helpful when you are ready to get started: How to Prepare Your Company to Use E-Verify.

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.

Discover how Tracker’s electronic I-9 software service lets you produce flawless I-9s every time. Feel free to contact us we’d love to hear from you.

E-Verify Resumes Service: What Employers Need to Know

E-Verify OpenToday US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) brought their E-Verify service back online and provided the instructions posted below for employers. The service was unavailable from October 1-16, 2013. If you hired employees during the 16 days E-Verify was offline, or if you had E-Verify cases in process, you will want to carefully follow these USCIS instructions.

If you submit E-Verify cases manually and hired employees during the offline period, you will need to log into the E-Verify website and manually key in the data required to submit a query for each person you hired during the offline period, being careful to follow the special instructions below from USCIS. If you use the Tracker electronic I-9 & E-Verify solution, your delayed new hire cases can all be submitted automatically in a single batch process which incorporates the USCIS special instructions. You won’t have to pull up the individual I-9’s. This will save you time, especially if you work for a high-volume hiring organization.

Below are the instructions posted by USCIS, which you can also read on the E-Verify website:

E-Verify has resumed operations following the federal government shutdown. All E-Verify features and services are now available. The following information addresses questions on how the federal government’s shutdown affected E-Verify and Form I-9.

Information For Employers

Form I-9

The Form I-9 requirements were not affected during the federal government shutdown. All employers must complete and retain a Form I-9 for every person hired to work for pay in the United States during the shutdown.

E-Verify

Employees who received a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC)

If an employee had a TNC referred between September 17, 2013 and September 30, 2013 and was not able to resolve the TNC due to the federal government shutdown, add 12 federal business days to the date printed on the ‘Referral Letter’ or ‘Referral Date Confirmation.’ Employees have until this new date to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to resolve their cases. If you have an employee who decided to contest his or her TNC while E-Verify was unavailable, you should now initiate the referral process in E-Verify. Employers may not take any adverse action against an employee because of a TNC.

Employees who received a SSA Final Nonconfirmation (FNC) or DHS No Show result

If an employee received a Final Nonconfirmation (FNC) or No Show because of the federal government shutdown, please close the case and select “The employee continues to work for the employer after receiving a Final Nonconfirmation result,” or “The employee continues to work for the employer after receiving a No Show result.” The employer must then enter a new case in E-Verify for that employee. These steps are necessary to ensure the employee is afforded the opportunity to timely contest and resolve the Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) that led to the FNC result.

Creating Cases: Three-Day Rule

You must create an E-Verify case for each employee hired during or otherwise affected by the shutdown by November 5, 2013. If you are prompted to provide a reason why the case is late (i.e., does not conform to the three-day rule), select ‘Other’ from the drop-down list of reasons and enter ‘federal government shutdown’ in the field.

Federal Contractor Deadlines

During the federal government shutdown, federal contractors could not enroll or use E-Verify as required by the federal contractor rule. If your organization missed a deadline because E-Verify was unavailable or if it has an upcoming deadline for complying with the federal contractor rule, please follow the instructions above and notify your contracting officer of these instructions.

Information For Employees

If the federal government shutdown prevented you from contesting a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC), you will be allowed additional time to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) or Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If your TNC was referred between September 17, 2013 and September 30, 2013, and you were not able to resolve the mismatch due to the federal government shutdown, you should:

  • Add 12 federal business days to the date printed on the ‘Referral Letter’ or ‘Referral Date Confirmation’ that your employer provided you after you contested the TNC. Federal business days are Monday through Friday and do not include federal holidays.
  • Contact SSA or DHS by the new date to resolve your TNC.

If you received a Final Non-Confirmation (FNC) because you could not contact DHS or SSA during the federal government shutdown, or because you could not contact DHS or SSA in the first ten days after the government reopened, please contact your employer and request that the employer re-enter your query. For more information about contesting your TNC or FNC, please refer to Employee section of the E-Verify website.

Customer Support

E-Verify Customer Support expects an increase in requests for assistance. Due to this increase, customers may experience longer than normal delays and response times. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience. For any questions or additional information about how the federal shutdown affects E-Verify, please email E-Verify@dhs.gov. For questions about Form I-9, please visit I-9 Central or email I-9Central@dhs.gov. Employers and employees may also contact E-Verify at 888-464-4218. Customer Support representatives are available Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm local time.

E-Verify Services Suspended Due to Government Shutdown

E-Verify Closed

As of the time of this post, the US Federal Government has yet to reach a budget agreement and a partial government shutdown is in effect.  Among the many Federal Agencies that are affected by the shutdown, the Department of Homeland Security will suspend E-Verify until funding is restored. Continue reading for more details.

Note that a federal government shutdown does NOT impact an employer’s I-9 responsibilities. Employers should continue to process I-9s as they normally would. Employer should also expect to create cases in E-Verify when E-Verify becomes available.

According to the E-Verify home page (here), as a result of the shutdown employer will be unable to:

  • Enroll any company in E-Verify
  • Verify employment eligibility
  • View or take action on any case
  • Add, delete or edit any User ID
  • Reset passwords
  • Edit your company information
  • Terminate an account
  • Run reports
  • View ‘Essential Resources.’ Please note that all essential resources may be found by visitingwww.dhs.gov/e-verify.

In addition, E-Verify Customer Support and related services are closed. As a result:

  • Employees will be unable to resolve Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs).
  • Telephone and e-mail support will be unavailable. You may send e-mails, however, we cannot respond until we reopen.
  • E-Verify webinars and training sessions are cancelled
  • E-Verify Self Check will not be available

To minimize the burden on both employers and employees, E-Verify has implemented the following policies:

  • The ‘three-day rule’ for E-Verify cases is suspended for cases affected by the shutdown. E-Verify will provide additional guidance once normal operations are restored. This does NOT affect the Form I-9 requirement—employers must still complete the Form I-9 no later than the third business day after an employee starts work for pay.
  • The time period during which employees may resolve TNCs will be extended. Days the federal government is closed will not count towards the eight federal government workdays the employee has to go to SSA or contact DHS. E-Verify will provide additional time once E-Verify reopens.
  • For federal contractors complying with the federal contractor rule, please contact your contracting officer to inquire about extending deadlines.
  • Employers may not take any adverse action against an employee because of an E-Verify interim case status, including while the employee’s case is in an extended interim case status due to a federal government shutdown (consult the E-Verify User Manual for more information on interim case statuses).

When E-Verify service resumes, employers will need to process the backlog of hires that would have otherwise been run through E-Verify but for the shutdown. If you still complete the Form I-9 on paper, here are some ideas for how to plan ahead and get through backlog:

  1. Keep a consolidated list of new employees who will need to be processed. Have their Form I-9s handy so you can churn through them quickly once E-Verify services resume.
  2. If the government shutdown lasts awhile, consider adding additional staff to help get through the backlog.
  3. Be prepared to answer questions, especially for those employees who are still in the process of contenting TNC, which they have been granted extra time to resolve.
  4. Carefully monitor the situation, and be prepared to resume E-Verify transactions as soon as you can after E-Verify service is restored.

If you process I-9’s electronically with a system like Tracker I-9 Complete with E-Verify, managing the E-Verify process during the shutdown is easy. Backlogged cases are seamlessly managed through automated processing and reminders.

Again, please note that a federal government shutdown does NOT impact an employer’s I-9 responsibilities. Employers should continue to process I-9s as they normally would.

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.

Discover how Tracker’s electronic I-9 software service lets you produce flawless I-9s every time. Feel free to contact us we’d love to hear from you.

 

Overview of New Form I-9 for Employers

[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.]

A new version of Form I-9 was released by USCIS on March 8, 2013. Employers were required by law to begin using the new version of Form I-9 effective immediately, but USCIS gave employers a 60-day grace period to implement the new form into business practice. This 60-day grace period ended on May 7, 2013. Employers must use the new version of Form I-9 for any new hires or I-9 re-verifications completed on or after May 7, 2013.

Federal law requires that every employer hiring an individual for employment in the United States must complete a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. As previously reported, the new version of Form I-9 includes new fields for employee telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. The new version has also been reformatted and is now two pages in length. The new version of Form I-9 is available at uscis.gov.

Check out an essential, interactive introduction to the new Form I-9 that identifies the changes and provides instructions. Click on the arrows at the bottom of the presentation screen to advance. 

 

For updates regarding employment authorization and immigration, you can also follow Katie Minervino on Twitter @kminervino as she closely tracks E-Verify and other immigration-related developments.

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.

Discover how Tracker’s electronic I-9 software service lets you produce flawless I-9s every time. Feel free to contact us we’d love to hear from you.

Best Practice Tips to Avoid E-Verify’s Less-Obvious Pitfalls

[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.

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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.

Discover how Tracker’s electronic I-9 software service lets you produce flawless I-9s every time. Feel free to contact us we’d love to hear from you.

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