E-Verify Old Timers Listen Up! USCIS is Archiving Records


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that E-Verify records, ten years or older, will be discarded by the government at the end of the 2014 calendar year. This means, effective January 1, 2015, E-Verify transaction records created on or before December 31, 2004, will be entirely DELETED from the system. If your company has been using E-Verify for more than 10 years this Update is critical.

What is E-Verify?

E-Verify is an internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. The program was authorized by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) and previously called the Basic Pilot Program. Basically, employers submit information taken from a new hire's Form I-9 through E-Verify to the Social Security Administration and USCIS to determine whether the information matches government records and whether the new hire is authorized to work in the United States.

Why are older E-Verify Records being Archived?

The archiving is a result of compliance with the National Archives and Records Administration’s retention and disposal schedule.

What steps does my company need to take?

First, determine if your company is affected by this announcement. If your company was an early adopter of the Basic Pilot Program, then you will need to ensure you have ongoing access to these records. Since E-Verify users, including Program Administrators, will no longer have access to cases created prior to December 31, 2004, E-Verify created a new Historic Records Report.

Second, employers with a pre- January 2005 enrollment date should download this Historic Records Report before December 31, 2014; the report will no longer be available after that date. The report will include all transaction records for cases more than 10 years old.

Once the Report is downloaded, it should be copied. One copy should be placed with the hard copy Form I-9s, and another with senior HR leadership for safekeeping. The USCIS announcement points out that this disposal affects only a limited number of E-Verify participants. If your company was not using E-Verify , on or before December 31, 2004, no report will exist. Again, employers will only have until the end of 2014 to access the data and the report.

In terms of best practices, the E-Verify case verification number should always be recorded on the relating Form I-9. While technically not necessary, we also recommend printing out the E-Verify confirmation sheet and attaching it to the Form I-9 as well.

Is there anything Federal Contractors and subcontractors need to know?

Federal contractors, and sub- contractors, affected by the E-Verify FAR flowdown clause should pay particular attention to this announcement as it necessary to ensure all employees working on certain federal contracts have been E-Verified. Even in a situation not involving a government contractor, this type of report will likely be important to a company during an internal investigation and/or when facing a compliance related issue.

Final words to the wise

It is critical that companies monitor their use of E-Verify to ensure overall compliance. Monitoring includes administrators and users of the program, regularly reviewing their E-Verify dashboards as well as reports which are easily available for download within the system. E-Verify misuse and abuse can lead to an investigation being opened against a business by the Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel and/ or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Reprinted with permission.

About The Author

Dawn M. Lurie

Dawn M. Lurie is a partner in the firm's Labor and Employment practice group and leader of the firm's Business Immigration and Compliance practice, based in the firm's Washington, D.C. office. Ms. Lurie has over 20 years of experience advising on U.S. and global immigration and is ranked as a leading business immigration lawyer by Chambers, Legal 500, Best Lawyers, Who's Who Legal, and other publications. Ms. Lurie regularly speaks and writes about immigration compliance and EB-5 matters; she is often quoted by major news agencies and publications, including the Washington Post and the Associated Press. Ms. Lurie advises domestic corporations on a variety of compliance-related issues, particularly related to Form I-9 alien employment verification and E-Verify matters. She has been involved in audits and internal investigations and has successfully minimized monetary exposure as well as civil and criminal liabilities on behalf of her clients. Since the early 1990s, Ms. Lurie has been advising high-net-worth individuals on the EB-5 Entrepreneur Investment visa program. Over the years, her practice has expanded to include regional center representation and compliance work. Ms. Lurie's interest in the EB-5 world is on regional center and project compliance, which has been generally overlooked during the recent surge of growth in the program.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of