The U.S. government has published a notice in the Federal Register today further delaying implementation of a final rule that would have required certain federal contractors and their subcontractors to begin using the E-Verify program to electronically verify the work eligibility of their newly hired employees and existing employees assigned to the contract. The rule, set to go into effect on May 21, 2009, is now further suspended until June 30, 2009. This is the third time the rule has been delayed from its original January 15, 2009, effective date.

Under the agreement, any federal contracts awarded or solicitations issued prior to June 30 will not contain the E-Verify clause imposed by the rule. On January 20, 2009, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel issued a memorandum to the heads of executive departments requesting that they extend for 60 days the effective date of the regulations that have been published in the Federal Register but not yet taken effect, so that President Obama and his staff have an opportunity to review such regulations. The Department of Homeland Security is noting that further suspension of the rule is required so that the Obama administration has an adequate opportunity to review the entire rule.

We will continue to provide you with the latest news as it relates to the final rule. In the meantime, it is important to remember that E-Verify participation by federal contractors will not be implemented until June 30, 2009. We encourage all of our clients to take the steps necessary to be in full compliance. Our immigration attorneys are available to explain the final rule and the E-Verify program in more detail, including how these changes may affect your business.