International Students

Ever wonder who else is participating in E-Verify, the electronic employment eligibility program?  Now you can find out.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides access to their participating employer database through the E-Verify Employers Search Tool.  While there are some limitations, the search tool covers currently enrolled employers and federal contractors in E-Verify through December 15, 2012.

As a reminder, participation in E-Verify is voluntary unless you are a federal contractor with the FAR clause or are in a state which mandates participation in E-Verify depending upon whether you are a public contractor or private employer.  See prior posts regarding state immigration laws and E-Verify mandates.

Potential beneficiaries of USCIS E-Verify Employers Search Tool include F-1 students in  science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs who need to work for employers enrolled in E-Verify if they want to benefit from the additional 17-month OPT STEM work authorization period.

Depending on where you are in the United States — stay warm!

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will be extending work permits for Haitian Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries while separately, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) published a notice extending benefits for certain Haitian students with F-1 visas.   

USCIS is extending the TPS designation for Haiti for 18 months, from January 23, 2013 through July 22, 2014.  This means Haitian TPS beneficiaries can remain in the United States through that period. USCIS will issue new works permits with a July 22, 2014 expiration date to eligible Haitian TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for the work permit.   USCIS has also stated that since all re-registrants may not receive new work permits until after their current one’s expire on January 22, 2013, they are automatically extending the validity of work permits for 6 months from January 22, 2013 through July 22, 2013.  This is important for the Employment Eligibility Verification form (form I-9) because for both new hires and existing employees it may appear as if the work permit has expired, when in fact it has been automatically extended. 

Generally speaking, an employer can determine if an employee qualifies for an extension of their work authorization pursuant to this TPS extension if the work permit lists A12 or C19 under Category and expires January 22, 2013.   Eligible individuals may continue to work until July 22, 2013.   

Practice Pointers: This only applies to eligible Haitian TPS beneficiaries and the form I-9 must be annotated accordingly depending on whether they are a new hire or an existing employee.  Finally, as of today, this auto-extension is only valid until July 22, 2013, at which point your tickler system should alert you to the fact that you need to re-verify the employee’s work authorization.  You should include a copy of the Federal Register notice with the employee’s form I-9.

Check out the latest edition of E-Verify Connection, a publication of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  Clocking in at one page, it is packed with interesting information, including:

  • The expanded list of  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) designated degree programs that qualify eligible graduates for Optional Practical Training (OPT).  Quick programming note — in order to receive a STEM OPT extension an employer must be enrolled in E-Verify.
  • Employer resources en Español (Spanish).
  • Syrian students and employment authorization.
  • Temporary Protected Status and Forms I-9.