E-Verify is an important tool to help ensure employers are hiring eligible employees, but you may not realize that a government shutdown can disrupt the service from operation.
Those that use E-Verify know that there is a strict “three-day rule” about how quickly an employer needs to certify a new employee through the system, which may make you nervous about your ability to be compliant during a future shutdown.
This article is intended to break down some facts about E-Verify’s state during a shutdown, what is expected from you while the shutdown is ongoing, and what to do when the government shutdown is over.
What is E-Verify?
If you’re not familiar, the E-Verify system is a government tool that allows you to compare the information provided by an employee during their job application to the records held by the Department Of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA).
In simpler terms, E-Verify will let you compare submitted documents (e.g. a passport) to a the document the federal government has on file. This extra security measure helps you ensure the legitimacy of the documentation and eligibility of the employee to work in the United States before you hire them.
If E-Verify Is Down, You Still Have To Fill Out Any I-9 Forms Promptly
E-Verify is different from you and your employee’s obligations to fill out Form I-9. Your workers still need to fill out Section 1 of Form I-9 on/before their first day of employment. You still need to fill out Section 2 of this form before the third business day your new employee is working for pay.
The only difference during a shutdown is that you are not expected to enter this information into E-Verify because the system to do that will be down.
What E-Verify Services Are Impacted By The Government Shutdown?
Many E-Verify services can be affected by the government shutdown.
Some of those services include the ability to:
- Enroll in E-Verify
- Create an E-Verify case
- View or take action on any case
- Add, delete or edit any user account
- Reset passwords
- Edit company information
- Terminate accounts
- Run reports
Many MyE-Verify services for employees can become unavailable as well. Your employees will not be able to use this service to use services like the self-check or self-lock. Employees will also be unable to view case history or view their case tracker.
Another important thing that can be unavailable during the government shutdown is any of E-Verify’s educational webinars on subjects like the I-9 form or E-Verify Overview. Any telephone and email support that is given by the E-Verify is likely down as well as the active management of the E-Verify website.
To find out specifics during a shutdown, always check the E-Verify website: https://www.e-verify.gov/
What Has E-Verify Done To Help You During This Time?
E-Verify has put a few temporary measures in place to ease the burden of the fact that E-Verify is down for the time being.
The primary measure that’s in place for employees is that the “three-day rule” for creating any E-Verify cases is suspended while E-Verify is down. After E-Verify comes back up, you will have to put any cases into E-Verify that took place while the system was down.
On the employee side, your employees will have more time to resolve their TNCs if they couldn’t resolve them due to E-Verify being shut down.
As an employer, you should not take any adverse or negative actions against any employee whose case is in an interim status due to E-Verify being unavailable.
What Should You Do After The Government Shutdown Is Complete?
E-Verify will resume when the federal government ends the shutdown. You should be preparing for E-Verify to open back up.
Here are a few tips to help you get prepared for E-Verify to open back up.
1. Keep All Your Paperwork For New Hires Handy
Since any information needed for E-Verify is not currently in the E-Verify system, you should keep these files handy. When the system returns after the federal government shutdown is over, you want to be able to access the information needed to complete E-Verify standards easily.
2. Make Sure To Keep New Hires Informed About Their Duties
Your employees still need to resolve any TNC issues as always. Make sure that they know they will need to fix these issues after the shutdown is over. You may not have the exact timeline of when those TNCs will be due, but they will likely be due soon after the government shutdown is over. Make sure to keep your new hires in the loop about their responsibilities so that all paperwork is turned in on time.
3. Watch The E-Verify Website For Updates
The E-Verify website will likely not be updated regularly until the government shutdown is over. After the shutdown is over, watch the E-Verify website for updates on things like when TNC issues need to be resolved and deadlines for any E-Verify entries that were delayed. The E-Verify website will be the best place to go for more information on these issues.
The best resource for information is always the e-Verify website: https://www.e-verify.gov/
While the federal government is in shutdown, you still have some obligations. You need to submit I-9 Forms for all of your new employees in a prompt manner. While the E-Verify system is down, you cannot enter this information into that system, but the government does allow a grace period once it returns operations.
While systems are down, E-Verify puts many measures in place to help ease the burden for employers and employees such as temporarily suspending the three-day rule for E-Verify entry and giving employees more time to resolve TNCs after the government shutdown is over.
Soon after you hear any information that the government shutdown is coming to a close, you should check the E-Verify website for further instructions. Until that news comes, keep any necessary new employee paperwork handy.
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