As September 30, 2023, approaches and Congress September 30, 2023, is fast approaching, and Congress has yet to agree on government funding. This standstill has left many employers questioning what will happen to E-Verify and immigration-related agencies if Congress fails to reach a deal on time. Failure to reach an agreement will lead to a government shutdown on October 1.
Many expect the shutdown to significantly impact the government agencies and processes that employers rely on for recruitment and hiring. However, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will likely remain active during a shutdown. It is one of the most significant agencies employers interact with recruitment, so its services are critical.
The USCIS primarily relies on fees charged for its benefits, with only a few exceptions. The same applies to the Department of State (DOS). However, the government shutdown may affect the consulates struggling to collect enough fees. Parties relying on these consulates may encounter delays.
Unfortunately, the Department of Labor (DOL) would shut down with the rest of the government. This shutdown would make the Foreign Labor Application Gateway and Permanent Labor Certification systems inaccessible. Should the government shut down, the DOL will likely extend certain circumstances. The shutdown will also affect the USCIS cases that require DOL certifications.
However, the most notable change employers may experience is the loss of E-Verify during any shutdown. The government shutdown will prevent employers from creating E-Verify cases. It also prevents them from updating or taking action on existing cases. As such, employers cannot resolve tentative non-confirmations or run reports.
Due to past shutdowns, the government has taken steps to mitigate disruption. For example, E-Verify would suspend the requirement for employers to create a case within three days of hiring applicants. It would also extend the period employers have for resolving tentative non-confirmations. Should another government shutdown occur on October 1, 2023, E-Verify will likely reinstate similar flexibilities.
This reassurance will become even more critical for many employers. Those using remote means to verify employees’ employment eligiblity (Form I-9) must rely on E-Verify. As such, the website going down could significantly disrupt their hiring processes.
However, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) assures employers that they may continue verifying Form I-9s remotely despite the shutdown; they cannot create new E-Verify cases. As such, the DHS stressed that employers who continue remotely verifying employees must create E-Verify cases as soon as the website is back online. They must also refrain from acting against employees whose E-Verify cases remain unresolved due to the shutdown.
As employers experience challenges like these, they must comply with I-9 and E-Verify requirements as best they can. One of the most effective ways to keep compliant is to incorporate an electronic I-9 management system into the hiring process. This system guides employers through the verification process, provides secure storage for documentation, and sends notifications when to take further action..
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