On Monday May 3, the USCIS hosted a Listening Session to serve as a public venue for providing feedback and input to the USCIS Verification Division, which is responsible for administering both the Form I-9 and the E-Verify program. We participated in the meeting telephonically. In our effort to help you stay informed of the ever changing employment verification landscape, the following is a summary of the more interesting highlights.
- Over 200,000 employers have registered for E-Verify to date, about half of which were required to do so in order to comply with Federal or State regulations.
- Nearly 800,000 worksites out of an approximate 7 million in the U.S. have been registered with E-Verify (about 8.75%).
- On average, about 1,000 new companies enroll with E-Verify per week.
Upcoming Changes to E-Verify
- The look and feel of E-Verify could be changing soon. USCIS expects to roll out redesigned features for improved ease of use in an effort to help reduce common mistakes. Specific release dates were not confirmed, however, it was mentioned on the call that several upgrades could be expected as early as June.
- USCIS is continuing to work on ways to expand the image library used by the photo matching tool.
- USCIS acknowledged that they are working on a new E-Verify feature that will allow for receipt information to be entered into the system.
- Scheduled for release in December, the proposed E-Verify Self-Check program would permit individuals to pre-screen themselves, allowing them to verify their status before applying for a new job.
- Employers would presumably be unable to prescreen candidates through Self-Check.
- USCIS warned that any employer who would require a potential employee to perform a Self Check would be in abuse of the system.
On a final note, USCIS confirmed that the Puerto Rican birth certificate law scheduled to go into effect on July 1st effectively invalidates all previously issued Puerto Rican birth certificates for I-9 purposes as we reported a few weeks ago. USCIS stated that additional guidance on this front is forthcoming.
You can find more information about the USCIS Office of Public Engagement (OPE), its outreach programs, and future Listening Sessions through their website. We realize many of our readers have busy schedules and are unable to participate in OPE public events, which is precisely why we plan to attend and report on future sessions relevant to E-Verify and I-9. Stay tuned!