Federal contractors and subcontractors are required to use the E-Verify system to verify their employees’ eligibility to work in the United States. This requirement applies to all contracts awarded after September 8, 2009 which include the Federal Acquisition Regulation’s E-Verify Clause. The ruling does not apply to contracts awarded before this effective date.
It’s especially important to note that there is no charge for employers to participate in E-Verify, and there is no need to pay to attend a briefing or seminar to learn about E-Verify. While it is very important that businesses educate themselves about regulatory obligations like E-Verify, this is something that is relatively easy to manage.
Here’s what you need to know.
Prime Contractors who have accepted federal contracts after September 8, 2009 that 1) include the FAR E-Verify clause, 2) extend over 120 days and 3) are valued at $100,000 or more, must:
- Enroll in the E-Verify program within 30 days from the date of contract award,
- Begin verifying all new hires within 90 days of enrolling in E-Verify, and
- Initiate verification of all existing workers assigned to a new federal contract within 30 days after the initial 90-day enrollment time frame.
Subcontractors accepting subcontracts for services or for construction with a value greater than $3,000 must follow the same guidelines if the Prime includes the FAR E-Verify clause.
I-9 Self Audit
Even if you do not yet have a contract which includes the FAR E-Verify clause, you may wish to do a self-audit of your I-9 process. The I-9 form is the Employment Eligibility Verification Form. Here are three steps for conducting a self-audit:
- Make sure all I-9 forms are filled out completely and correctly. Follow directions on the I-9 form exactly.
- If changes are made to the I-9 document, change them on the original form and initial and date the changes. Don’t fill out a new form.
- Re-verify expiring temporary employment authorizations and do not allow the employee to work if their documentation has expired.
2. Records Retention
- Employers must keep each employee I-9 Form on file for at least three years, or for one year after employment ends, whichever is longer.
- Keep and make copies of the original documents supplied by your employees — this is not required, but recommended. Keep only the minimum number of documents required.
3. Records Separation
- Store the I-9 forms and document photocopies separate from your employee files. This will help you to respond promptly to any notices from the Social Security Administration or investigations by Immigration officials.