Last Update: January 25, 2019 An agreement has been reached to end the partial government shutdown. A three-week continuing resolution has been approved that will reopen closed federal departments, including the Department of Homeland Security. This short-term agreement will allow furloughed employees to return to work, and grant Congress and the White House time to continue negotiating funding for border security until February 15th. This also means that the E-Verify service will soon resume. E-Verify Shutdown Impacts I-9 Management and Government Shutdown: Potential Impact to HR Onboarding & Offboarding, Equifax clients don’t need to worry. The I-9 Management service from Equifax maintained a record of new cases during the E-Verify shutdown. When the E-Verify service resumes, I-9 Management will automatically submit those cases.
Government and E-Verify Shutdown Continues
As the partial government shutdown, including E-Verify, has entered its third week, both President Trump and Democratic leadership made a direct appeal to the American people regarding their respective arguments on the funding impasse. On Tuesday night, January 8, 2019, President Trump’s address focused on the need to increase border security. He wants any legislation to reopen the impacted agencies to include funding for a border “barrier.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stressed the importance of reopening closed government agencies. This would allow furloughed federal employees to return to work while continuing to negotiate spending on border security.
Potential National Emergency
Discussions between the White House and Congressional Democrats should continue this week. However, President Trump has signaled the potential declaration of a national emergency if negotiations remain stalled. At this point, no readily apparent signs of compromise are emerging. Pressure may increase on both sides as longer term effects of the shutdown occur across the country, such as potential disruptions at airports and in the delivery of affected government benefits. Nine government departments are shut down. This includes the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which manages E-Verify under U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
What does this mean for employers and E-Verify?
The partial government shutdown has led to the interruption of the E-Verify service because USCIS has taken the system offline due to a lack of funding. During this time, it is important for employers to continue to complete the Form I-9 for all new hires. Additionally, employers should re-verify the work authorization of existing employees. This is a legal requirement separate from how the lapse in federal funding is affecting E-Verify. Regarding E-Verify, USCIS has provided guidance advising employers that:
- The “three-day rule” is suspended (meaning employers are not required to create a case in E-Verify within three business days of hire).
- The date by which employees with pending Tentative Non-Confirmations (TNCs) generated by E-Verify, must take action to address the TNC, is extended until the E-Verify system comes back online.
Therefore, employers should continue completing the Form I-9 for new hires and verify expiring work authorization documents. As we mentioned in the previous article, Government Shutdown: Potential Impact to HR Onboarding & Offboarding, Equifax clients don't need to worry. The I-9 Management service from Equifax will maintain a record of new cases during the E-Verify shutdown. When E-Verify service resumes, I-9 Management will automatically submit those cases. Equifax will continue to monitor developments with respect to funding of the U.S. government and updates as information becomes available.