Every year United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) purges records that are more than ten years old from the E-Verify system, and that time has come once again. The USCIS has announced that by April 1st, 2022, it will dispose of all records that were created on or before December 31st, 2011.
Since 2014, the USCIS has performed these yearly purges of the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification to remain compliant with the retention and disposal schedule created by the National Archives and Records Administration. These standards were created in order to reduce the risk of theft present in storing personally-identifying information.
For those who are unaware, E-Verify is a web-based system that allows employers to check the employment authorization of their new hires. This system will check the information that employees provide on their Form I-9 with information held by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.
Employers who use the E-Verify system must record the case verification number they receive on the corresponding Form I-9 for the employee. Alternatively, they may attach a copy of the case details to Form I-9 instead. For employers who are using historical E-verify data to supplement their current I-9 forms, they should retain a copy of the Historical Records Report with the associated Form I-9.
The USCIS created the Historic Records Report to allow employers as well as any other users to retain information from older E-Verify cases before they are deleted. These reports contain information concerning all the cases they will soon be purging. For employers who want to retain any case information from the Historic Records Report of a soon-to-be-deleted case, they have until March 31st, 2022, to download it.
Generally, the USCIS recommends retaining the Historic Records Report with the associated Form I-9 and copying the E-Verify case verification number onto it. As a result, it is good practice to download the Historic Records Report off of E-Verify at the close of each calendar year. For all ongoing investigations, the agency will retain all associated records themselves.
So, for all employers who have not done so already, it is time to ensure that the E-Verification number and case details page is attached to the form in order to protect themselves in case of an audit. This should be done for all past and current employees by the March 31st deadline.
It would also be wise to consider upgrading to an electronic I-9 management tool that is integrated with the E-Verify system. This can ensure proper completion and secure storage of all necessary data while guiding users through every step of the employment eligibility verification process.
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