by: Richard Elliot Updated:ATLANTA —
Georgia employers are free to continue hiring even though the federal government's E-Verify system is offline because of the shutdown.
Under Georgia law, employers with more than 10 employees are normally required to do an E-Verify check within three days of every new hire.
E-Verify checks the citizenship or immigration status of every new employee.
Since the shutdown, the federal government issued a statement waiving that requirement.
After extensive research, the Georgia Attorney General's Office confirmed to Channel 2 Action News that the federal waiver will cover Georgia employers, too.
means Georgia businesses can go ahead and hire new employees but will still have to do the E-Verify checks once the shutdown is over and the system is back online.
"It should have minimal, almost zero impact on hiring in Georgia," said Gov. Nathan Deal's spokesperson Brian Robinson. "Everyone already has the unique E-Verify number so they are registered in the system. So all businesses are already registered and will be able to move forward as normal. The federal government will pick up where they left off when it starts back up."
The only businesses that may not be able to hire new employees are the ones that started up this week after the shutdown began.
Since they do not have E-Verify numbers yet, the waiver may not apply to them, but Robinson believes that is a very small percentage.
Carletta Bey is the general manager at Bantam and Biddy restaurant in Ansley Mall on Monroe Drive. She wants to hire new people, but doesn't need to do it immediately. She's glad of that because the shutdown and its effects on
E-Verify have her confused.
"I probably, just out of fear, would not have hired that person, or had to push them back indefinitely," said Bey. "I feel bad for other businesses and companies that really, really need to hire employees at the moment."
Robinson reassured businesses that they can continue to hire, but added they will eventually have to do E-Verify checks on those new hires.
"It's an important program," said Robinson. "It'll get back up and running soon, but until then, most businesses will not be affected by this."