Designated Agents and I9 Administration

Companies that want to use e-Verify but aren’t sure if they can handle it by themselves often appoint designated agents to carry out worker eligibility verification for them. The DHS and SSA don’t have a problem with as long as the employer and agent sign a Memorandum of Understanding. This document outlines the federal government’s expectations for each party. It includes a section that states the employer and the agent must both understand and follow all rules for I9 administration and e-Verify use.

So, employers who think that having a third party handle their I9s lets them off the hook for training in-house staff are in for a disappointment. In fact, a designated agent generally only handles the interface with the e-Verify system – basically submitting data and receiving the report to pass on to the client. The employer is still responsible for collecting the information from the employee within the appropriate time frame, inspecting the documents to detect possible fraud, and handling any tentative non-confirmations in accordance with the law.

Recordkeeping and Data Security Pitfalls

The employer must also keep detailed records including the original I9 form and the e-Verify confirmation information provided by the designated agent. According to the DHS, if an employer switches to a new agent, information on the cases run by the previous agent will no longer be available and can’t be transferred to the new e-Verify account. The DHS recommends that employers obtain a printed report of all cases before terminating a relationship with a designated agent.

In addition to the risk of no longer having access to records, employers should also be aware that employee data may be exposed to unauthorized parties. For a real-life scenario in which a designated agent’s data security was compromised, check out this post over on Jay’s blog.

Price a Factor for Large Employers

Outsourcing basic HR functions is often done to save money and increase efficiency. However, designating an agent to use e-Verify can get pretty pricey for employers with high hiring volume. Vendors may charge an initial enrollment fee, annual renewal fee, and a fee for each new hire. Because of this, employers who already have our Universal Onboarding system often choose to simply interface directly with e-Verify and cut out the middle man.

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