The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the trial launch of E-Verify+, an advanced product to streamline the process for employers to verify the employment eligibility of newly hired workers. Through this process, employees will receive a link to complete the Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) directly through E-Verify in one experience. A select group of users are testing E-Verify+ to assess and provide feedback in an effort to ensure the best possible product is available when it is released for wider use later this year.

E-Verify+ Seeks to Streamline the Employment Eligibility Verification Process

The E-Verify program launched in 1996 as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act to help employers confirm the eligibility of employees to work in the United States. Under E-Verify, an employee’s Form I-9 information is compared with records available to DHS and the Social Security Administration. The program electronically confirms an employee’s information against millions of government records and returns case results to users within a few seconds, enabling employers to know instantly whether their new hire’s employment is authorized, nonconfirmed, or needs more time to be reviewed by DHS.

On average, 1,500 businesses sign up for an E-Verify account every week, and over 1 million employers have enrolled in E-Verify since the program began. However, the I-9 and E-Verify processes have traditionally required Human Resources (HR) departments to collect and store sensitive information about employees, which has motivated calls for a more convenient and secure system.

E-Verify+ seeks to reduce the burden on employers and their HR departments by allowing employees to complete and submit the Form I-9 and other data themselves, reducing the need for HR departments to retain personal documentation and information. Under E-Verify+, employees personally receive delivery of notices to allow the new hire to more easily resolve and verify any non-confirmations. Because of direct employee involvement, DHS expects the program will lead to fewer data entry errors and data privacy concerns. The new system also includes account protection protocols designed to eliminate the need to encrypt uploaded documents. If the trial is successful, more employers may look to E-Verify+ as part of efforts to reduce input burdens, save time, and increase efficiency in the employment eligibility verification process.

To ensure compliance with government requirements, we recommend considering the following best practices:

Best Practices for Employers

Governance– Define specific roles and responsibilities to ensure accountability for compliance activities.
– Designate a leadership group or legal counsel to serve as a risk manager to be responsible for oversight, monitoring, and compliance. The risk manager is distinct from the team or individual implementing processes and procedures. 
– Integrate compliance considerations into the overall business strategy.
Risk Evaluation– Conduct a review of current policies and procedures relating to the E-Verify and Form I-9 process, training materials, standard operating procedures, and any scripts used by the recruitment and hiring professionals.
– Provide an overview of the risks and develop a plan with strategies to mitigate their impact. 
– Keep informed of changes in processes and procedures; adjust the risk assessment as appropriate.
Policies and Procedures– Maintain clear, concise policies and procedures.
– Ensure that any new procedure is implemented consistently to avoid allegations of illegal recruitment and hiring practices such as discriminatory action.
– Design and enforce internal controls to prevent, detect, and correct compliance issues.
Education– Employers (and the users who create and manage the cases) should complete E-Verify webinars / tutorials about their responsibilities.
– Provide regular training programs to educate employees at all levels about compliance obligations.
– Encourage a culture where employees are comfortable providing suggestions for improvements and reporting compliance concerns.
– During trainings, seek to learn from the attendees about current practices, potential weaknesses, and ways to improve the program.
– Use multiple methods of communication to disseminate compliance information and updates to ensure wide reach and understanding.
Oversight– Continuously monitor and update policies and procedures to ensure they remain effective.
– Conduct periodic audits to evaluate the effectiveness of compliance programs and identify areas of improvement.
– Leverage technology and data analytics to continuously monitor compliance activities.
– Establish a response plan for addressing compliance matters that arise, including investigation procedures, corrective actions, and reporting mechanisms.

Please continue to follow updates on our blog, The Mobile Workforce.