June 11, 2008

Federal Contractors Must Use E-Verify!

On June 9, 2008, President Bush issued an executive order prohibiting federal contracting agencies from contracting with any companies who do not use an electronic employment eligibility verification system designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The Executive Order does not specify when contractors must comply nor does it designate the specific electronic verification system contractors must use. However, Secretary Michael Chertoff of the Department of Homeland Security responded to the Executive Order by designating E-Verify as the system of choice “to ensure that the federal government only does business with companies that agree to verify the legality of their new hires and further, that the specific employees tapped to perform contract services in the United States for the federal government are authorized to work in this country.”

The E-Verify program (formerly the Basic Pilot Program) is a voluntary, internet-based system, jointly managed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The E-Verify program requires participating employers to verify employment eligibility of new hires by checking the employee’s I-9 information against the SSA and DHS databases.

Companies with federal contracts and others should carefully plan the implementation of E-Verify immediately. Because the use of E-Verify is not risk-proof, cautious employers should contact an immigration attorney before acting. Badmus Immigration Law Firm (BILF) offers counseling and training in E-Verify implementation. Contact your BILF attorney immediately to avoid the pitfalls of this new turn in immigration compliance.

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By Ann Massey Badmus