Federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to begin using the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) E-Verify system starting Jan. 15, 2009, to verify their employees’ eligibility to legally work in the United States.
The new rule implements Executive Order 12989, as amended by President George W. Bush on June 6, 2008, directing federal agencies to require that federal contractors agree to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees. The amended Executive Order reinforces the policy, first announced in 1996, that the federal government does business with companies that have a legal workforce. This new rule requires federal contractors to agree, through language inserted into their federal contracts, to use E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all persons hired during a contract term, and to confirm the employment eligibility of federal contractors’ current employees who perform contract services for the federal government within the United States.
Federal contracts awarded and solicitations issued after Jan. 15, 2009 will include a clause committing government contractors to use E-Verify. The same clause will also be required in subcontracts over $3,000 for services or construction. Contracts exempt from the E-verify rule include those that are for less than $100,000 and those that are for commercially available off-the-shelf items. Companies awarded a contract with the federal government will be required to enroll in E-Verify within 30 days of the contract award date. They will also need to begin using the E-Verify system to confirm that all of their new hires and their employees directly working on federal contracts are authorized to legally work in the United States.
The final E-verify rule announced today takes into account the more than 1,600 comments received on the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council’s proposed rule published in June. It also reflects some changes from the proposed rule that are designed to lighten the burden on small businesses who decide to accept federal contracts, and to provide contractors with flexible means of complying with the basic requirement that all persons working on federal contracts be electronically verified.