Verifying employment eligibility is a critical step that each employer must take before officially hiring anyone in the U.S. Making errors in your verification process or failing to do it can result in heavy fines from the Department of Homeland Security. With the current government shutdown, we’ve received some questions from clients asking about E-Verify and here are our answers to the most commonly asked questions:
How is E-Verify affected by the government shut down?
E-Verify is not working and won’t be funded during the shutdown. You won’t be able to run new reports, access records, or view the status of any cases.
Can I hire someone if we can’t verify their employment eligibility?
The short answer is yes. However, once the shutdown ends, you’ll still be held liable for verifications of any employees who were hired during the shutdown period. We suggest setting a reminder on your calendar to enter all new hire information into E-Verify as soon as it is possible to do so. You will be responsible for checking to see when the system is up and running again.
What changes are there to E-Verify’s requirements during the government shut down?
There are no changes to E-Verify’s requirements. Employers are still required to obtain completed I-9’s from all employees and complete the employer section of the form. What has changed, is the 3-day time limit that employers have in which to run an employee’s information through E-Verify; this time limit has been extended because employers cannot access the system during the shutdown.
How long can we employ someone without verifying their employment eligibility?
You can employ someone during the length of the shutdown, or more specifically, during the length of E-Verify’s shutdown. This will likely (but not unquestionably) coincide with the length of the government shutdown. When the last shutdown ended, it took some time for E-Verify to be available for use. As a result, employers were given a grace period during which they were able to enter all of their new hires into the E-Verify system after it came back online. Watch the E-Verify platform for updates and further instructions around this.
Have more questions or need help figuring out how to work through a unique hiring situation? Ask us your questions via the online chat tool in the lower left-hand corner of your screen. We’d love to help.