E-Verify Compliance Branch Now Requesting Form I-9 During Desk Reviews30 Apr 2018
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that when its E-Verify Monitoring and Compliance (M&C) branch conducts a desk review, the employer will be asked to provide copies of the completed form I-9 and corresponding employment verification documents. A desk review is a process by which M&C determines that an employer enrolled in E-Verify may be having difficulties with the system, and therefore contacts the employer by eMail or phone to review that company’s use of the E-Verify system. M&C then makes recommendations on steps the employer can take to become compliant.
Background on E-Verify and M&C
E-Verify is a mostly voluntary system used by an employer to verify the work authorization of its employees. In certain circumstances, an employer may be required to participate as a prerequisite for eligibility to participate in particular government programs. Most notably, an F-1 student working based on a STEM optional practical training (OPT) extension can be employed only by a company that is enrolled in E-Verify.
M&C branch is responsible for ensuring that employers are properly using the E-Verify system to verify the employment eligibility of new hires. The M&C branch monitors the E-Verify system to help employers comply with the E-Verify memorandum of understanding, E-Verify manuals, form I-9 instructions, and related rules and regulations.
Desk reviews are one of M&C’s compliance assistance tools, which consist of phone calls and eMails between M&C and selected E-Verify participants. M&C uses desk reviews to help E-Verify participants correct noncompliant employment verification activities. In the past, if an employer was selected for a desk review, M&C generally would not request copies of the I-9 and supporting employment authorization documentation.
Unlike a site visit, desk reviews take place by eMail or phone. It is important to note that a desk review is not an audit or an inspection. However, employers should make sure that their employment verification documents and I-9s are properly executed, in the event of an audit, because there are monetary and other penalties imposed against employers for I-9 violations.
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