December 27, 2011
The “Self Check” program, part of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services’ (USCIS) E-Verify system, allows immigrants to check their own eligibility for employment through an online database. Now available in limited areas, including Ohio, USCIS recently announced that it will soon make the service available around the country. It is also requesting feedback from people who use the program.
The E-Verify program itself allows employers to compare information provided by an employee on a Form I-9 to a database maintained by DHS. Employees have had little to no involvement with E-Verify itself, since employers mainly accessed the service. Errors or discrepancies in the database sometimes caused problems for employees, as otherwise employable immigrants appeared in the database as lacking employment authorization for one reason or another. USCIS says they launched Self Check in part to combat this problem.
USCIS launched Self Check on March 21, 2011 as a means of improving the efficiency of the E-Verify program by allowing immigrants and job applicants to access their employment eligibility information directly. The system also gives people an opportunity to spot errors in their records and work to correct inaccuracies, particularly discrepancies between records kept by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Errors in federal immigration databases can cause all manner of problems ranging from inaccurate records of employment eligibility to mistaken imprisonment. USCIS has issued assurances that all personally identifiable information will be secured and not misused.
The program was first available in five states and the District of Columbia. It is currently available in twenty-one states. USCIS states that that over 50,000 people have used the service since it launched. It hopes to expand to all fifty states within the next few months.
People can access Self Check by first entering identification information on the website, such as name, address, or date of birth. The service then asks users to confirm their identity with questions from a third-party verification service. These may be similar to questions used in online credit report services. Users then provide a social security number or Alien Registration Number to access database records. Self Check will search through databases maintained by DHS and SSA. It will also provide users with information on how to contact SSA and DHS to resolve errors or inconsistencies in database entries.
Information obtained through Self Check, according to USCIS is never shared with employers, nor is the fact that an employee access the service. Employers cannot compel employees or applicants to use the service. Self Check hopefully offers employees and job seekers an effective method of monitoring their own records and staying aware of what information may be available to employers. It will also, one hopes, help immigrants remedy one of the greatest problems they face in the immigration system: inaccurate, incomplete, or otherwise faulty records in federal databases.
Ohio immigration visa lawyer Gus Shihab represents employers seeking to employ immigrant workers and job seekers who wish to come here to work. For a free and confidential consultation, contact us online or at 877-479-4USA (4872).More Blog Posts
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Ohio’s Proposed Mandatory E-Verify Law – Bad For Ohio’s Employers – Bad for Ohio’s Economy, Immigration Visa Lawyer Blog, October 28, 2011