E-Verify for Federal Contractors Now Postponed Until May 21, 2009

January 2009Alerts Labor & Employment Department and Immigration Practice Alert

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On January 8, 2009, the federal government again agreed to postpone, until May 21, 2009, implementation of the executive order and related federal procurement law that require federal contractors and certain subcontractors to use E-Verify to verify the work eligibility of new employees as well as those directly involved in the federal contract. The rule was originally set to go into effect on January 15, 2009, was first postponed until February 20, 2009, and now has been postponed until May 21, 2009.

The postponement means that federal contractors have an additional reprieve from the special obligations outlined in the rule, including the inclusion of the E-Verify clause in contract solicitations or awards and enrollment in the E-Verify program.

The federal government agreed to the postponement – a day before their deadline to respond to a federal lawsuit filed on December 23, 2008, by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other parties (plaintiffs) – in response to a memoranda issued by the Obama administration urging all executive departments and agencies to consider extending the effective date of published regulations that have not yet taken effect. The Obama administration now has the opportunity to review the rule and either withdraw or modify it.

The additional extension provides federal contractors more time to determine the applicability of the new rule, prepare for its implementation (with appropriate plans for roll-out and staffing), as well as review and audit current I-9s to confirm current compliance with applicable immigration laws, until the Court makes its final determination.

Fox Rothschild recommends that employers take advantage of the extra time to perform an internal "check up" to examine immigration compliance levels, particularly since the implementation of the E-Verify rule will require all companies in the U.S. with qualifying federal contracts to use E-Verify companywide. Fox recommends a strategic private internal audit of I-9s, as well as an examination of hiring practices, policies and procedures.

Fox Rothschild will bring you updated news regarding the progress of this rule when further information is available.

For more information regarding this Alert, or if you require assistance with your company's immigration or employment issues, including IRCA compliance, social security mismatches, I-9s, raid planning, audits or investigations, please contact: Alka Bahal at 973.994.7800 [email protected] Ian Siminoff at 973.994.7507 [email protected] or any member of our Labor & Employment Department or Immigration Practice.