Government shutdownShutdown shuts down E-Verify

Published 16 October 2013

The law requires that businesses verify the work eligibility of new hires within three days of hiring. Staffing companies which place employees with companies do the verification before placing employees. E-Verify has been turned off as a result of the government shutdown, causing headaches for businesses, boosting their administrative costs, and possibly landing them in legal trouble.

Atlas Staffing, which helps Minnesota companies fill job openings, typically uses E-Verify to ensure that the employees it places are eligible to work in the United States.

For two weeks now the St. Cloud, Minnesota company could verify the eligibility of the people it nplaced because E-Verify is among the federal functions which are not available during the partial government shutdown.

Minnesota businesses and labor experts say that the unavailability of E-Verify is causing headaches for businesses, boosting their administrative costs, and could possibly land them in legal trouble.

SCTimes reports that businesses use E-Verify to confirm an employee’s work eligibility. The system compares information from an employee’s I-9 form to data from federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration.

The unavailability of E-Verify “is causing delays, inconvenience and increased costs to employers,” Scott Wright, an attorney with the Minneapolis firm of Faegre Baker Daniels who specializes in business immigration law, told SCTimes. “It is just adding to the administrative cost of hiring.”

Wright said he has not yet heard from businesses which have decided to delay hiring because of the absence of E-Verify, but he noted that it is a possibility.

Kelly Severson of Atlas Staffing says that her company is continuing to place workers during the shutdown, and that the company will verify the eligibility of these employees once E-Verify is restored. She said she suspects it could lead to problems, such as finding that an ineligible employee has been placed.

The law requires that business verify work eligibility within three days of hiring.

SCTimes notes that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (ICE), one of the agencies that administers E-Verify, has given guidance to employers on how to operate in its absence. This includes suspending the 3-day rule for businesses to vet their employees with E-Verify and extending the period during which employees can appeal tentative non-confirmations of their eligibility.