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Enhanced E-Verify Begins Testing Phase

Office, Occupation, Working, Women, Happiness

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced the trial launch of E-Verify+, the next generation of the government’s electronic employment verification system.

E-Verify+ would fundamentally change the way employment eligibility verification is conducted, integrating the Form I-9 process with E-Verify and shifting much of the process away from HR to the new hires themselves.  

Currently, employers must complete a Form I-9 for each new hire and enter the information into E-Verify if they are enrolled in the program.

The trial launch of E-Verify+ will include live testing and assessment of the user experience. Feedback from the testing will be incorporated when E-Verify+ is released for wider use.

“The proposed changes are significant,” said John Fay, an attorney and director of product strategy at Equifax Workforce Solutions. Fay participated in a demo of the product.

Under the updated process, new hires would electronically enter their biographic information, citizenship or immigration status, and acceptable identity documents into E-Verify+ using their secure personal account. Once the system confirms the employee’s identity and employment eligibility, it notifies the employer, who will finish the verification by examining the documents. The submitted information will be used to create a completed Form I-9 that the employer can download and store.

The current process relies on employers to correctly enter information on the Form I-9 and then transcribe that information into E-Verify, a practice that is less secure and sometimes results in data entry errors that can lead to E-Verify mismatches, Fay said.

With E-Verify+, new hires would be notified if further action is needed to determine their employment eligibility, and they would resolve E-Verify mismatches directly with the government. This would eliminate the need for the employer to act as an intermediary and create a more secure and private process that can speed up case resolution, according to USCIS.

Another new development is that employees would be able to carry their verification status with them when they change jobs. Currently, employees and employers must complete a new Form I-9 and enter a new E-Verify case each time the employee starts a new job.

Fay said this feature—which still needs to be worked out in practice—is a commonsense approach. “If I’m a U.S. citizen and change jobs as much as some people do these days, why do I have to continually go through employment verification?” he asked.  

Overall, Fay said that E-Verify+ will be very useful for those employers still completing I-9s on paper. “For them, if they are also using E-Verify, it is a very manual process,” he said. “This will be a more seamless experience.”

E-Verify is voluntary except for federal contractors and in certain states that require all employers to use it: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.

Experts believe that the process enhancements included in E-Verify+ are meant to be an incentive for more employers to voluntarily use the system.

Once E-Verify+ is released nationwide, employers will have the option to choose between a standard E-Verify case or an E-Verify+ case. All E-Verify cases, including E-Verify+ cases, will be managed in one centralized location.


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