US self check work eligibility system expanded

by Ray Clancy on August 18, 2011

Self Check work system goes nationwide

The Self Check system in the United States which allows people to verify their eligibility to work is to be expanded nationwide next year, it has been confirmed.

The free online version of E-Verify that is used by employers, had a successful pilot in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, Virginia and the District of Columbia and is now available in 16 additional states; California, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington.

‘Self Check equips workers with fast, secure access to their employment eligibility information before they apply for jobs,’ said USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

‘By offering Self Check to Spanish speakers and making the service more widely available, USCIS makes good on a promise to streamline and protect the integrity of the E-Verify process for employees and employers alike,’ Mayorkas added.

Self Check is the first online service offered directly to workers by E-Verify, a Department of Homeland Security programme administered by USCIS in partnership with the Social Security Administration. Employers use the Internet-based E-Verify service to determine employees’ eligibility to work in the United States.

When workers over the age of 16 use Self Check to confirm their eligibility to work in the United States, they enter the same information that employers would enter into E-Verify. Self Check allows users to compare their information to the same databases that E-Verify accesses, giving them an opportunity to address any existing data mismatches before they are hired by an E-Verify-participating employer.

Meanwhile, the US Government has announced several initiatives to ease visa restrictions in order to attract more investment from foreign entrepreneurs, who wish to create a business in the United States.

The aim is to boost job growth and the economy currently facing difficulties. Mayorkas said there are no actual visa changes but a clarification of H-1B visa and Green Card rules and an increase in the speed and efficiency in processing applications that will make it easier foreign entrepreneurs to obtain visas.

As part of the new measures, USCIS has published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document on its website to clarify its new policies on applications for the EB-2, H-1B and EB-5 and E13 visas by foreign entrepreneurs and investors. USCIS also updated the H1-B guidelines to clarify business owners on H1-B visas could work in the US for their own companies, provided that they work full time and the individual’s employment is decided by a corporate board or shareholders of the start up company.

The documents also clarify that foreign entrepreneurs can apply for the EB-2 Visa without a specific job offer from an established company. Generally, this visa category requires employers to go through a lengthy process called labor certification. Now, these requirements can be waived if the applicant demonstrates to CIS that their ventures are in the country’s best interest.

Also the EB-5 Visa programme, which grants permanent residency to migrants investing at least $500,000 in a project that generates at least 10 jobs, will be enhanced with faster processing times by transforming the intake and review process, more flexible rules and establishing direct communication between applicants and the USCIS.

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