E-Verify Shuts Down, Leaving Employers in Flux

You don’t need to work in Washington to feel the impact of a partial government shutdown.

As Democrats and Republicans meet to broker a deal to restore government funding, one critical onboarding tool has found itself in the crossfire. E-Verify, the online service used by employers to confirm new hires’ authorization to work in the U.S., has been shut down until lawmakers and President Donald Trump can agree on a funding bill.

E-Verify cross-references individuals’ Form I-9 information with data from the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security to determine their authorization to work. Since the nineties, enrollment in the online service has ballooned from just 11,000 to nearly a million organizations. While use of E-Verify remains voluntary for most companies nationwide, a number of states have passed laws requiring or regulating its use.

The recent outage is complete, impacting every feature of the service. As of this writing, users were unable to submit cases, run reports, or even view pending or past submissions. Companies who don’t use E-Verify will also be unable to enroll in the service during the shutdown.

Next Steps for Onboarding

In a release, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it was temporarily suspending the usual three-day deadline for submitting E-Verify cases post-start date. It also said that employers would not be permitted to take adverse action against new hires because of their cases being impacted by the delay.

The Form I-9, which remains mandatory, should still be completed by new hires and HR teams. Federal contractors or businesses in jurisdictions where E-Verify use is mandatory should keep a record of all employees who started work during the shutdown, which began on December 22, 2018. Once the service is restored, cases will need to be submitted for these individuals. 

The Namely team will continue monitoring the status of E-Verify as lawmakers negotiate a budget resolution. 

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