Electronic Public Access Files Allowed by Department of Labor

July 7, 2017 Chelsea Iversen


Employers of H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 visas are required to keep public access files (PAF) for every sponsored employee that are available for public viewing. Recently the Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification confirmed that storing electronic public access files satisfied regulatory requirements.

Now that public access files can be electronically stored, employers are encouraged to choose one method of storage going forward.

Storing public access files

An electronic filing system is extremely helpful in storing public access files. Though it’s important to use technology whenever possible, above all, it’s important to be consistent with your storage method.

All printed and electronic public access files must be kept for one year past the length of the sponsored employee’s tenure with the employer. On the other end of the spectrum, it’s recommended that employers do not retain PAFs longer than the regulations require. PAFs retained beyond the one year requirement are unnecessary liabilities if they contain errors or mistakes. Don’t take the chance: After one year, you should permanently delete your public access files to make sure there are no mistakes that could result in a fine.

Keep electronic public access files organized

It is important to delete public access files after one year, but it’s also important to keep your public access files stored separately from other important immigration documentation. You want to avoid an I-9 or other unrelated file finding its way in there only to have it accidentally deleted with your PAF.

You may also want to maintain a PAF for longer than a year if it’s important for non-immigration reasons. Any questions on particular documents should be directed to your attorney. Performing regular audits can ensure that your PAFs are consistent and all documentation is standardized.


For more on what you need to maintain compliance for public access files, tune into our on-demand webinar, Maintaining Immigration Compliance for Your Organization.


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