Unavailable since the federal government shutdown began on October 1, 2013, the E-Verify employment eligibility verification system has resumed operations following the ending of the shutdown and all features and services are now available, according to a bulletin from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The USCIS bulletin offers information for employers that addresses questions on how the federal government’s shutdown affected E-Verify and Form I-9. E-Verify is a free Internet-based system run by the federal government that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their newly hired employees to legally work in the United States using information on the ‘Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.’
The Form I-9 requirements were not affected during the federal government shutdown. All employers must complete and retain a Form I-9 for every person hired to work for pay in the United States during the shutdown.
Employees who received a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC): If an employee had a TNC referred between September 17, 2013 and September 30, 2013 and was not able to resolve the TNC due to the federal government shutdown, add 12 federal business days to the date printed on the ‘Referral Letter’ or ‘Referral Date Confirmation.’ Employees have until this new date to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to resolve their cases. Employers who have an employee who decided to contest his or her TNC while E-Verify was unavailable should now initiate the referral process in E-Verify. Employers may not take any adverse action against an employee because of a TNC.
Employees who received a SSA Final Nonconfirmation (FNC) or DHS No Show result: If an employee received a Final Nonconfirmation (FNC) or No Show because of the federal government shutdown, please close the case and select “The employee continues to work for the employer after receiving a Final Nonconfirmation result,” or “The employee continues to work for the employer after receiving a No Show result.” The employer must then enter a new case in E-Verify for that employee. These steps are necessary to ensure the employee is afforded the opportunity to timely contest and resolve the Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) that led to the FNC result.
Creating Cases/Three-Day Rule: Employers must create an E-Verify case for each employee hired during or otherwise affected by the shutdown by November 5, 2013. Employers who are prompted to provide a reason why the case is late (i.e., does not conform to the three-day rule) should select ‘Other’ from the drop-down list of reasons and enter ‘federal government shutdown’ in the field.
Federal Contractor Deadlines: During the federal government shutdown, federal contractors could not enroll or use E-Verify as required by the federal contractor rule. If an organization missed a deadline because E-Verify was unavailable or if it has an upcoming deadline for complying with the federal contractor rule, follow the instructions above and notify contracting officer of these instructions.
Customer Service: Since E-Verify Customer Support expects an increase in requests for assistance, customers may experience longer than normal delays and response times. For questions or additional information about how the federal shutdown affects E-Verify, email E-Verify@dhs.gov. For questions about Form I-9, visit I-9 Central or email I-9Central@dhs.gov. Employers may also contact E-Verify at 888-464-4218 Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 AM local time.
The USCIS bulletin is available at http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/USDHSCIS-900f6d.