U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provides employers with a number of digital tools designed to make their lives easier and help them better understand things the agency regulates such as the E-Verify background verification application. It recently introduced a feature that make it even easier to find answers to immigration-related questions.
A guide for USCIS webpages
Government websites aren't always easy to navigate. They tend to use what USCIS referred to as "government speak" and are not always user-friendly. Human resource managers with questions about E-Verify or the Form I-9 may be hard-pressed to find exactly what they are looking for. This is why USCIS recently launched a digital assistant called Emma, designed to help people navigate the agency's website to find the information they are looking for. The virtual assistant was named after Emma Lazarus, whose sonnet "The New Colossus," is quoted on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
Emma was developed to assist people looking for answers to their immigration questions. Questions that would traditionally end up with the agency's call centers can now go through the virtual assistant instead. While Emma's knowledge base is still growing, there are big plans for the future. For example, she is currently in the process of "learning" Spanish.
"Emma was designed to help people navigate the USCIS website."
How Emma works
The virtual assistant is essentially a simpler version of other similar tools such as Apple's Siri. Emma is built around a chat box. People with questions simply ask via the text, and wait for her response. For example, type in "Where do I learn more about E-Verify?" and the digital helper will respond with information about E-Verify and then automatically send you to the background verification system's homepage. Emma types out her answers, but can also speak to you if you turn the option on.
For human resource managers who would like to find more information on E-Verify, locate USCIS's list of webinars or learn more about visas, the virtual assistant can prove useful. Time is important, and with Emma, no longer will you be forced to stumble through USCIS's sometimes confusing web pages in search of an answer. Ask the virtual assistant a question, and you will be teleported to the page with the information you're searching for.
While there's no virtual assistant for the Form I-9 yet, Emma can be considered a start for people who dread heading to the USCIS website in search of answers to their questions about E-Verify and other immigration-related questions.