Electronic I-9 Verification: The Ins and Outs

As a company, GCS has done a large number of systems to optimize people operations, especially around recruiting and hiring. Over the past couple years, some of the more frequent questions or misconceptions are around I-9 Verification, and if/how you can use technology to streamline your processes. This article will answer those questions or correct those misconceptions.

What is the I-9 Form?

Let’s start with the basics. The I-9 Form is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services form that is required upon hiring, and its purpose is to verify the employee’s identity and authorization to work. The form was mandated back in 1986, as a result of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and I’m already falling asleep just typing this so feel free to read more on that topic here if you so choose.

For those looking for a more simple answer, and have ever been hired in the U.S., the I-9 Form is the one that made you show your new employer certain documents from List A or List B and List C. If you were like me, and didn’t have a passport, you probably showed your social security card and driver’s license.

What’s The Non-Electronic Methods to I-9 Verification?

The tried and true method, and the one most of us have experienced, goes as follows:

  1. Employer hands you an I-9 form
  2. Employee fills in the appropriate information of said I-9 form
  3. Employee gathers your documents needed
  4. Employee brings completed form and documents to HR
  5. Employer HR representative, reviews the documents, hands them back, smiles and says ‘Thank you!’

Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy!

Disclaimer: I am fully aware that there is more from the HR side of things that needs to happen and I am not trying to diminish their efforts. However, for the purpose of this post, that description is good enough.

Seems Easy Enough, What’s Wrong With That Way?

Nothing at all, for most employers. But there’s a big flaw in that process, and that is the manual verification done by the HR representative.

For one employee, no problem. For hundreds in a week? Big problem. We work with a lot of construction and industrial companies, many of which do turnarounds that involve hiring a large number of people very quickly. Bringing that many people into a hiring office over a course of 3-4 days costs your employees time, and makes the hiring office look like Mardi Gras on Bourbon St. Good luck to the one or two HR reps you have working those days.

So What Are My Options?

Now we get to the important part. There are a couple ways you could potentially solve this problem, but they both involve using the governments E-Verify system. As the website puts it, “E-Verify is an internet-based system that compares information from Form I-9 to government records to confirm that an employee is authorized to work in the U.S. “

Put more simply, you can verify an employee electronically, relying less on physical presence of documents

 

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