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Government shutdown causes employer confusion over new hires

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Employee legality checks are stuck in limbo


This week's government shutdown has forced many departments to close, but one area that hasn't been widely considered is how it affects businesses looking to hire new employees. Many businesses rely on E-Verify, an electronic system for checking if potential workers have the legal right to work in the US. The system has been suspended after being deemed non-essential, meaning businesses need to rely on paper documents as proof. Officials say that, although many businesses are legally required to use E-Verify within three days of hiring someone, the requirement is being waived until the system is up and running again. Even so, Bloomberg Businessweek reports there is "plenty of confusion" over how to proceed, highlighting that it's currently difficult to find state officials to answer questions due to the shutdown.

Any business confused by the new regulations need only head to the E-Verify website for full guidance. The site clearly states that the three-day rule is suspended, but businesses are still required to file I-9 forms within three days. When it comes to already open cases things get a little more complicated. Employees that have been marked with Tentative Nonconfirmations (essentially flagging them as possible illegals due to mismatched data) will be given additional time to prove their legality. Usually, employees have eight federal government workdays to contact the Department of Homeland Security or Social Security Administration and correct the issue, but any days that fall under the shutdown will not count towards that allowance. In addition, businesses are not allowed to "take any adverse action" against employees because of E-Verify statuses until the system is back online.