Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system is currently unavailable due to a lapse in U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations caused by the United States federal government shutdown, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on January 22, 2018. (UPDATE 01/22/2018: CNN reports the U.S. Senate has reached a deal to reopen the government for three weeks until February 8, 2018.)

E-Verify compares information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification to data from DHS and Social Security Administration (SSA) records to confirm employment eligibility. The USCIS is offering guidance for employers who cannot use E-Verify during the government shutdown.

While E-Verify is unavailable, employers will not be able to access their E-Verify accounts and will be unable to: enroll in E-Verify; create E-Verify cases; view or take action on any case; add, delete, or edit any user account; reset passwords; edit company information; terminate accounts; and run reports.

E-Verify Customer Support is closed during the government shutdown as telephone and e-mail support will be unavailable, employees will be unable to resolve E-Verify Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs), E-Verify webinars and training sessions are cancelled, and Self Check and myE-Verify will not be available.

To minimize the burden on employers due to E-Verify’s unavailability during the government shutdown, the ‘three-day rule’ for E-Verify cases is suspended for cases affected by the unavailability of E-Verify. This does NOT affect Form I-9 requirements as employers must still complete the Form I-9.

In addition, the time period during which employees may resolve TNCs will be extended. The number of days E-Verify is not available will not count toward the days the employee has to begin the process of resolving their TNCs. The USCIS will provide guidance regarding these time deadlines once reopened.

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 status due to the unavailability of E-Verify. Employers should consult the E-Verify User Manual for information on interim case statuses.

Federal contractors covered by the E-Verify federal contractor rule should contact their contracting officer to inquire about extending federal contractor deadlines. Employers may find all essential resources at https://www.uscis.gov/e-verify/publications. The USCIS apologizes for any inconvenience.

As reported earlier by ESR News, a government shutdown was looming if the U.S. Senate did not approve an appropriations bill before the deadline of midnight on January 19, 2018. The last government shutdown lasted from October 1, 2013, to October 17, 2013, when approximately 800,000 federal employees were indefinitely furloughed.

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) – which produces the President’s budget – has a web page with government shutdown contingency plans for federal agencies. The page, which will be updated as more plans are posted, is at www.whitehouse.gov/omb/agency-contingency-plans/.

A federal government shutdown in the United States occurs when Congress and the President fail to pass appropriations legislation funding government operations and agencies. Since 1976, there have been eight federal government shutdowns in 1980, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1995–1996, 2013, and 2018.

ESR is a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) is not your average background screening firm and does not intend to become one. ESR is a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent that helps employers with Form I-9 compliance. To learn more, please visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Form-I-9-E-Verify/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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