Despite E-Verify Shutdown, Employers Must Still Comply With I-9 Rules

Ironically for a government shut down over issues of illegal immigration, one of the few ways US employers have of verifying the right to work status of new hires is also shut down.

E-Verify became unavailable when the partial shutdown of the US government began December 22nd. A message on the website tells employers they won’t be able to access their accounts or verify the work eligibility of new hires. Likewise, workers will not be able to resolve E-Verify Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNC) and myE-Verify will be unavailable.

Because of the system’s unavailability, the Department of Homeland Security, which operates the service, has suspended the three day rule. The rule requires E-Verify employers to submit a new hire for verification no later than three days after the new hire begins work for pay. The time for employees to resolve a TNC is also extended at least for the duration of the shutdown and probably for at least some time after.

Employers with workers whose I-9 documentation couldn’t be verified and were notified of nonconfirmation may not take action against those workers, the E-Verify website cautions: “Employers may not take adverse action against an employee because the E-Verify case is in an interim case status, including while the employee’s case is in an extended interim case status due to the unavailability of E-Verify.”

Despite the inaccessibility E-Verify, employers still have to comply with the I-9 rules. The form  has sections that must be completed within three days by the employee and employer respectively. Employees must provide verification of their eligibility to work in the US. Several different types of documents are acceptable including voter registration card, passport, Employment Authorization Card and driver’s license. Some documents establish only eligibility to work. Some may be used to prove identify and some may be used for both purposes.

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The E-Verify website also notes that “Federal contractors with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause should contact their contracting officer to inquire about extending federal contractor deadlines.”

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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