New E-Verify Mobile App Being Tested

By Roy Maurer May 6, 2016
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E-Verify is going mobile.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced testing for a new E-Verify app that will allow users to access the federal government’s employment eligibility verification program from their mobile devices.

During the 90-day trial period, which began April 27, up to 2,000 E-Verify users who volunteer for the app test will be able to download it for free from the Apple Store, then log in using their existing E-Verify credentials. They can then use the app to create and manage cases on their iPads and report performance time through the Apple TestFlight feedback tool, according to the agency. There are plans to have the app work on other operating systems in the future.

“The mobile app is definitely a step in the right direction, especially considering the number of employers that regularly hire workers in remote locations where computers and traditional Internet access are not readily available,” said John Fay, vice president and general counsel at LawLogix, a Phoenix-based software company specializing in cloud-based I-9, E-Verify and immigration compliance services. “As it stands now, many of these organizations struggle to initiate the E-Verify case within the required three-day time period or fail to follow up on cases which are pending review. It’s also great to see that USCIS is conducting a proper beta test and gathering feedback from actual users of the program.” 

The agency said that the app is “safe and secure and does not compromise the personal information of employees.” In the event of a photo mismatch query, the iPad camera may be used to temporarily capture images of documents that prove work authorization.

The testing period will provide more information on how users interact with and use E-Verify and will influence future mobile products, according to the agency.

In 2014, the Senate Appropriations Committee directed USCIS to develop a better E-Verify mobile app, referring to a 2012 “mobile-supported” interface that did not optimize well on smartphones and tablets.

“This app’s native design may solve that problem, but it will initially only be available to users of Apple devices, leaving those with Android products tethered to their computers for now,” Fay said.

Organizations will also need to assess whether the E-Verify app meets their internal security requirements and can be reliably deployed and updated by those individuals involved in the hiring process, he added. “This is especially true for large employers, many of whom are already using an electronic I-9 and E-Verify system with mobile capabilities. As with all things in the HR compliance world, employers should definitely speak with counsel before making any I-9 or E-Verify process changes, even those which seemingly involve just technology.” 

Series of Enhancements

The new app is one of several enhancements USCIS recently announced to make its website and online products easier to use on mobile devices.  

The agency’s main site and its Spanish site now automatically adjust to fit the screens of a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. About 30 percent of visitors to the English site and more than 50 percent visiting the Spanish site now use a mobile device, according to USCIS.

“As technology progresses, digital platforms can no longer take a one-size-fits-all approach,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez in a press release. “Significant numbers access our site and services through mobile devices. These changes will make a big difference in improving their online experience.”

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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