Area officials say the federal government’s shutdown of the E-Verify system has created a backlog of paperwork, but otherwise minimally disrupted the hiring process.
E-Verify is a free program under the Department of Homeland Security. The Internet-based program confirms new hires are legally allowed to work in the U.S.
Both state and federal law require businesses and municipalities to use the program to verify the immigration status of new hires.
“I have not received any complaints from local businesses regarding E-Verify,” said Kit Dunlap, president of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.
The federal government has been shut down for 13 days, since the beginning of the fiscal spending year, with no agreed-upon bill to fund operations.
Federal workers, unless exempt for “essential operations,” have been furloughed, and agencies forced to close their doors.
Mike Giles, president of the Georgia Poultry Federation, said although E-Verify is an essential, legal step in hiring, the impact “should be minimal.”
“Employers will simply fill out the I-9 form as usual, and then they will process the new hires through the E-Verify system when it becomes available again,” he said.
Giles noted the government has suspended timeliness requirements.
“Homeland Security has suspended the rule requiring new hires to be processed through E-Verify within three days of hiring,” Giles added.
Bill Moats, human resources director for Hall County, said the shutdown has not affected the county’s ability to hire.
“The only effect it has had so far is that it’s creating a backlog of verifications that will have to be completed once E-Verify is available,” Moats said.
He said new hires must provide documentation.
“We are still required to complete the I-9 form, which is part of the process to verify eligibility,” he said. “Employees must provide an acceptable form of documentation to prove that they are legally able to work in the U.S.”