Saipan HR practitioners bone up on E-Verify

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Posted on Jul 12 2019
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The Society for Human Resource Management hosted for the first time a webinar—an internet-based teleconference—for a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service representative, who spoke about USCIS employment programs with SHRM members at their meeting yesterday at the Hyatt Regency Saipan in Garapan.

Realuz Bisa, who is with the Outreach Branch of USCIS Verification Division in Los Angeles, provides training and education to employers and the public on programs supported by the USCIS Verification Division that includes E-Verify, Form I-9, and myE-Verify.

In the hour and a half presentation at the Hyatt ballroom, she gave Human Resources managers and business owners basic information about the rules and regulations of E-Verif, a program launched by USCIS in April last year that is the source for information for employers, employees, and the public on electronic employment eligibility verification.

Bisa specifically discussed the use of Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification which employers must file when hiring individuals who may legally work in the United States. E-Verify would compare the information from Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification to federal records to confirm if the petitioned employee is eligible to work in the U.S.

To date, E-Verify is a voluntary program but CNMI employers will eventually be required by the NMI Workforce Act to enroll in the Web-based system E-Verify and must follow the requirements of the program.

According to Saipan Tribune archives, E-Verify enrolment would soon be a requirement for all employers that would file for CW-1 visas. USCIS encourages CNMI employers to enroll in the E-Verify program as soon as possible.

For more information on the law and regulations, go to www.e-verify.gov. The user-friendly website provides information about E-Verify and Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, including employee rights and employer responsibilities in the employment verification process. E-Verify.gov allows employers to enroll in E-Verify directly and permits current users to access their accounts.

Hyatt director for Human Resources Josephine Mesta welcomes activities that benefits human resources practitioners in the CNMI. “The topic today is so relevant. It may be refresher for many but for new human resources people, this is so informative. …There are some companies that think they are too small and that they don’t need it but it is good for them to hear it,” she said.

“It is great that we have webinars because it is so expensive to bring someone [to the islands]…to make sure that we are informed and SHRM should do more. …Being in HR where everything is so dynamic, even in my experience, you have to be on top of things every single day,” Mesta added.

One of the points raised by Bisa that caught the attention of the manager of KSR Saipan who asked not to be named was the hiring of an agent to complete Form I-9. “The presentation was very informative. A lot of important details were given. The information that struck me was when we delegate to an agent the completion of Form I-9 and if there is any error committed by that agent, the employer will be directly accountable,” she said.

“This makes me think of doing a self-audit on all I-9’s in our company. …We handle our I-9’s and doing a self-audit will help us double-check what we have on file,” she added.

Facilitating more webinars is on their list of future SHRM projects, said SHRM president Catherine Cachero.

“It worked out pretty seamlessly today and I would like to offer more webinars for SHRM. We have very little funding to fly people out here. It requires people to be out here only for a few and, unless I find co-sponsors to help fund it, then it’s very difficult to pay several thousand dollars,” she said.

“If there are other topics that would be helpful with human resources managers or even just different businesses and if we can find a way to offer it, we will, so it will be much easier and available to people,” Cachero added.

Bea Cabrera
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.
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