Corporate Immigration Procedures: I-9 and E-Verify
Form I-9 is a must for any employer who has hired either a citizen or a noncitizen. Both, employees and employers, must complete this form. The form is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment here in the U.S.
Companies are often confused as to the procedures for filing an I-9 when they hire a noncitizen. Brenman Immigration Law Firm advises such corporations in complying with these procedures and in examining the employment eligibility and the documents presented by an employee to determine their genuinity and to record the documents on Form I-9.
FILING TIME FRAME
Any employer hiring a noncitizen or a citizen must complete a Form I-9 for each person on their payroll who is required to complete the form. This form is NOT filed with USCIS, but must rather be available for inspection by various U.S. government officials. Therefore, these forms must be retained and stored by the employer for either three years after the date of hire or for one year after the employment is terminated, whichever is later.
E-Verify is a free to use internet-based system, owned by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. It is used by employers to verify whether an employee is authorized to work in the U.S. Generally, the use of E-Verify is voluntary and limited to determining the employment eligibility of new hires only. However, this is not the case for Federal Contractors.
Can I E-Verify the immigration status of a new hire that is not a U.S. citizen?
No! E-Verify must only be used to verify the employee's employment eligibility, not his or her immigration status.
What is the required timeframe for conducting an E-Verify check on a newly hired employee?
An employer must E-Verify an employee within three business days of the first day of the employee's employment.
What is the earliest that an employer can E-Verify an employee?
The earliest the employer may initiate a query is after an individual accepts an offer of employment and after the employee and employer complete the Form I-9. While an employer may initiate the query before a new hire’s actual start date, it may not pre-screen applicants and may not delay training or an actual start date based upon a tentative non-confirmation or a delay in the receipt of a confirmation of employment authorization. An employee should not face any adverse employment consequences based upon an employer’s use of E-Verify unless a query results in a final non-confirmation.
Also, employers may not use an employment authorization response to speed up an employee’s start date. Finally, an employer must verify employees in a non-discriminatory manner, and may not schedule the timing of E-Verify inquiries based upon the new hire’s national origin, citizenship status, race, or other prohibited characteristic.