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Gov Requires Contractors To Verify Citizenship

Contractors who have federal contracts need to start verifying whether or not their employees are able to work legally in the United States. Starting September 8, 2009, the federal government is requiring federal contractors to use the E-Verify system to check the immigration and citizenship status for anyone they hire and assign to new federal contracts.

The rule applies to contracts of $100,000 or more awarded as of September 8, last longer than 120 days and do not involve commercially available products.

This latest immigration enforcement rule allows 30 days from the date a contract is awarded to enroll in E-Verify, and 90 days to start submitting information on new hires and certain current workers. Contractors have the option of checking their entire work force, once they notify the government of their intent to do so.

They also will be responsible for requiring subcontractors to use the E-Verify system. Employers already use a paper application, known as I-9, to check workers' legal status. E-Verify is a Web-based system that cross-checks names and other information against Homeland Security Department and Social Security Administration databases. It helps identify people who are in the country illegally, and those who are legally present but not authorized to work, such as students.

If you have questions, contact Homeland Security's Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services.