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IMMIGRATION

WHAT IS E-VERIFY?


Gail S. Seeram
By GAIL S. SEERAM

E-Verify (formerly known as the Basic Pilot/Employment Eligibility Verification Program) is an Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) that allows participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees.

E-Verify is free, voluntary and the best means available for determining employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security numbers.

Federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to begin using the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' E-Verify system starting Feb. 20, 2009 to verify their employees' eligibility to legally work in the United States. The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council amended the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to reflect this change.

The new rule implements Executive Order 12989, as amended by ex-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 confirm the employment eligibility of federal contractors' current employees who perform contract services for the federal government within the United States.

The U.S. Department of State began production of the U.S. passport card on July 14, 2008. The passport card may be used by those entering the U.S. by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. It is a valid passport that attests to U.S. citizenship and identity of the bearer and is acceptable as a List A document for the Form I-9. The passport card also may be used in E-Verify if it is presented to an employer for the Form I-9.

Gail S. Seeram, an immigration attorney, handles cases involving family petitions, business/investors visas, citizenship, deportation, asylum, work authorization and extension of status. Call her office toll- free at 1-877-GAIL-LAW (1-877-424-5529), send an email at gail@go2lawyer.com or visit www.go2lawyer.com




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