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How to Comply With E-Verify During the Government Shutdown

e-verify government shutdown

The government is shutdown

And so are many of its services. Some effects include…

  • 800,000 federal workers are not being paid
  • National parks are closed or have limited services
  • Same with zoos
  • Air traffic controllers are still working—for free
  • TSA employees are calling in sick, rather than working for no pay

With no or little government funding, the services we use are limited or on hold.

 

Including E-Verify services

They’re completely shut down.

But your business isn’t.

You’ve still got people to hire. It’s still on you and your HR team to hire employees correctly, including completing their I-9 verification.

E-Verify, a brief primer

E-Verify is web-based program to confirm employees are eligible to work in the U.S.

It compares information on an applicant’s Form I-9 with records from the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.

It’s used by more than 750,000 businesses. And growing. Twenty-four states require employers to use E-Verify. While a growing number of companies are making E-Verify mandatory as part of their hiring process.

As a participant in the E-Verify program, you are required to confirm employee eligibility within three days of being hired.

That’s hard to do with the shutdown, since your E-Verify services are unavailable.

Right now you cannot:

  • Enroll in E-Verify
  • Access your accounts
  • Create an E-Verify case
  • View the status of a case
  • Take any action
  • Reset a password
  • Terminate an account
  • Run any reports

This affects employees, too. They are locked out, unable to resolve any Tentative Non-Confirmations (TNCs).

There are big impacts in retail, hospitality, and food & beverage industries, where turnover is higher. This increases the chance of hiring undocumented workers.

 

What you should do

There’s some good news.

Suspended: The “three-day rule” for creating E-Verify cases.

Extended: The time for employees to resolve any TNCs.

The number of days E-Verify is down, will not count toward the days employees have to resolve any TNCs.

However…

 

You must still complete the Form I-9 by the third business day after an employee starts working.

And, comply with other Form I-9 requirements.

Who knows how long the shutdown will remain.

Either, the three-day clock will begin running the day the shutdown ends.

Or, the government will give you more than three days to catch up with your large number of hirings. Hopefully.

We’ll see.

But till then…

 

Don’t take any adverse action against an employee

It’s not allowed.

Keep treating employees as you normally would during their interim time. With training, benefits, and other services.

And don’t refuse to hire anyone new because they can’t be E-Verified just yet.

 

Prepare to resume

For whenever this will be.

Got a backlog of new hires stacking up? Many do.

Planning is the key. Here’s a few tips to help you out with your new, yet unconfirmed, employees.

  • Keep good records. Know exactly who still needs to be E-Verified.
  • Designate staff members to complete the follow up process. When the shutdown ends, you’ll begin to verify employees who’ve completed their I-9 forms.
  • Create a unified message. Get legal and your compliance team on the same page. So everyone understands why interim employees are not yet E-Verified.

E-Verify will resume. And so must you.

Stay safe by alerting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of any issues you encountered during the shutdown.

If you can’t initiate an E-Verify case for a new employee by the third day, you must still indicate the reason why from the E-Verify system. You’ll be prompted with…

  • Awaiting Social Security number
  • Technical Problems
  • Audit Revealed that New Hire Was Not Run
  • Other

In this case, specify ‘other’. Then, enter ‘government shutdown’.

 

Keep hiring

Some employers have been reluctant to hire because of the shutdown.

But you need not.

Completing your I-9 forms in good faith will be your best defense. This will make it obvious you are hiring correctly, carefully, and legally.

You’ve got products and services to sell, and clients to delight.

Keep hiring the people needed to keep your business operating and growing.

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