USCIS Releases New E-Verify Enhancements

Alabama Employers should not be surprised if the next time they enter the E-Verify portal they see some changes. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released its latest round of E-Verify enhancements, on September 16, 2012, which will go into effect immediately for all users of the E-Verify web interface. Unlike the previous June 2011 update, these changes are fairly subtle – which will be welcome news for all who are responsible for constantly updating internal manuals, training guides, and policies.

This latest E-Verify release only affects those organizations (or agents) that access E-Verify directly through a web browser.  Employers using an electronic I-9 system or designated agents (which automatically sends I-9 information to the E-Verify system through a secure connection) will be unaffected by these changes today.

More Web Browsers Supported

This new release will allow users to access the E-Verify portal through the following browsers (in addition to Internet Explorer 6.0 and above):

  • Firefox (version 3.0 and above)
  • Chrome (version 7.0 and above)
  • Safari (version 4.0 and above)

Quick Audit Report Now Available

During the past two years, employers have seen a steady increase in E-Verify compliance initiatives – both at the state and federal levels. The USCIS Monitoring and Compliance unit and the Office of Special Counsel are also requesting with increased frequency detailed E-Verify reports when issues of potential E-Verify misuse (or discrimination) arise.

To facilitate such inquiries, the USCIS has added a new “Quick Audit Report” which will allow companies to generate an Excel spreadsheet of E-Verify case data (e.g, basic company and case identifiers and case resolution information) for a particular time period and state location. This report will allow Alabama Employers to monitor and track potential red flag items and patterns of misuse. I reccomend that E-Verify administrators familiarize themselves with this feature and incorporate its use into  their compliance monitoring activities.

New Fields for Foreign Passport Number and Country of Issuance

Perhaps the most significant change (at least for those who deal with foreign national new hires) is a new set of fields that  will automatically appear for “aliens authorized to work” who present a Foreign Passport with an attached I-94. Under this new enhancement, employers will now be required to enter the “country of issuance” and “foreign passport number” into the E-Verify case before they can move forward.

As many of you may not know, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is in the process of eliminating the paper I-94 Arrival/Departure record which is issued to certain foreign nationals upon entry to the U.S. In doing so, CBP is now taking up to 45 days to input the I-94 information into the DHS system. Since E-Verify relies upon that information to confirm work authorization, the agency has been warning that employers may experience an increase in Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNC). Providing the foreign passport number and country issuance may enable an employer to avoid the dreaded TNC altogether.

New Web-Based Tutorial for Corporate Administrators

With this enhancement, USCIS has added a new Web-based tutorial for Corporate Administrators (those who manage multiple E-Verify accounts) which replaces the live webinar training that was previously required.

New Manual for Corporate Administrators

The USCIS has also added a new E-Verify User Manual for Corporate Administrators, which you can download here.