Since the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, businesses have been mandated to verify the employment eligibility of new hires, and depending on each businesses state location and specific circumstances, they may be required to use E-Verify as well. Earlier this year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that as of June 4, 2021, it will dispose of E-Verify records dated before or on December 31, 2010. Although this practice of disposing ten-year-old records is routine, it is important for companies who may need information from E-Verify to gather it before the deadline of June 4th.
How the E-Verify Program Works
Before an employer can use E-Verify, they are required to complete a Form I-9 for the employee. This form consists of three primary sections, including:
- Section 1: Asks employees to fill out requested personal informational no later than their first day on the job. Employers should review and ensure the form has been completed correctly.
- Section 2: This section focuses on employment work eligibility verification. Employees must submit approved identification documents to employers. From there, employers are charged with examining the documents for authenticity. This middle section of the form should be completed within the employees first three days.
- Section 3: The last section is reserved primarily for rehire and reverification. This is needed in the event that an employee changes their name, their work authorization expires, or they are rehired within three years of the date on the original form.
Much of the information gathered from the form will also be used to open up an E-Verify case. If using digital I-9 compliance software, it should be capable of autopopulating E-Verify fields with information from the Form I-9 so that retyping similar data is unnecessary. An E-Verify case should typically be completed by the third business day from the employee’s first day.
After an E-Verify case is opened and completed, the program then analyzes the information provided by the employer to data kept on file by government agencies for the purposes of confirming the employee’s work eligibility. The speed with which E-Verify case results are provided back to an employer can vary depending on individual circumstances.
While not all employers are required to enroll in the E-Verify program, many do for the sole purpose of alleviating some of the pressure of authenticating employees’ work eligibility. It may also be helpful in protecting against identity and document fraud.
E-Verify Records Disposal Practices
Although the USCIS made an announcement that it would be getting rid of E-Verify records dated before or on December 31, 2010, this is not a new practice. For many years U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have been following National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) protocol regarding the retention and disposal of records. The practice of disposing of these E-Verify records is in place in large part to avoid unnecessary risk related to privacy and security.
Why Businesses Should Care About the June 2021 Deadline to Pull Information from E-Verify
Businesses using E-Verify must print and file or record an E-Verify case verification number that corresponds to an employee’s Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification. To that end, a business may match and keep the historic records report with the correct corresponding I-9 forms.
Some companies may find it beneficial to keep this information in the instance that they are the subject of an I-9 audit or are being investigated. If an employee’s work eligibility is in question, having that documentation can be key. Without it, there may not be enough data for a company to prove the said employee was authorized for work by E-Verify at the time of hire.
Employers who require information on downloading historic records reports in E-Verify can find detailed instructions on the program’s website. Some information that can be found in a historic records report may include:
- Original date and case number
- Company name and location
- Employee name and date of initial resolution, additional resolution, and final status
- Information regarding case closure
Why It Can Pay Off to Enlist I-9 Compliance Help
Federal mandates regarding the verification of an employee’s work eligibility can be very specific and deadline oriented. The Form I-9 has three separate sections, each with their own guidelines regarding timelines for completion. In addition to that, employers must also be aware of impending deadlines to download historic records reports before they are disposed of.
With so many checklists and deadlines looming that can affect a company’s I-9 compliance status, it can be wise to enlist help. A reputable provider can help ensure that employers meet guidelines and are doing everything they can to be I-9 compliant from start to finish.
Choose a company that intimately understands employment verification from a legal perspective and all the complexities that come with obtaining and maintaining I-9 compliance. This provider must understand and keep abreast of federal and state laws regarding I-9 compliance.
Look for comprehensive I-9 compliance help that includes:
- Form I-9 assistance
- E-Verify assistance
- Digital I-9 compliance software
As E-Verify deletes records older than ten years, it is a good reminder for employers to remember and observe the importance of those records’ role in potentially maintaining I-9 compliance.