E-Verify compliance reviews now include checking I-9 forms

Unless you’re a government contractor, you may have never heard of E-Verify. It’s a web-based system that allows enrolled employers to confirm that their employees are eligible to work in the U.S. E-Verify complements the Form I-9 process for employment eligibility verification.

Heads up: According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which runs both programs, its E-Verify Monitoring and Compliance function may contact you regarding your I-9 forms.

Desk review process. According to the USCIS, M&C agents are allowed to conduct desk reviews of employers’ I-9 forms. Important: Desk reviews aren’t audits or inspections. If something is amiss, you will be contacted by phone or email. Agents will also make recommendations regarding your I-9 policies.

Although desk reviews aren’t audits or inspections, you fail to heed agents’ recommendations at your peril. Improper use of E-Verify or Form I-9 that indicates potential fraud, discrimination or other illegal activities may be referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Justice or other investigative or law enforcement agencies.

I-9 scams. It was inevitable that phishing scams related to I-9 forms would arise. The USCIS is reporting that employers have received scam emails, which appear to come from the USCIS, that request I-9 information. Reminder: I-9 forms aren’t filed with the USCIS. This scam email comes from a fraudulent email address: news@uscis.gov. Tip: Configure your email software to reveal a sender’s email address. If the revealed details don’t match the sender’s address, it’s most likely spam or a phishing attempt.

If you get such an email, report it to the Federal Trade Commission here. If you can’t tell whether the email is legitimate, email the USCIS at uscis.webmaster@uscis.dhs.gov.

PAYROLL PRACTICE TIP: E-Verify isn’t the same as the Social Security Administration’s Social Security Number Verification System. In general, you can only use E-Verify once per new hire. You can use SSNVS to confirm that new hires’ names and Social Security numbers match, and you can use it again as part of your year-end procedures to verify name/SSN matches for your entire payroll.