Tomorrow, the U.S. government will formally delay until May 21, 2009 the applicability of the E-Verify requirement for Federal contractors. A notice to this effect is slated to appear in tomorrow’s Federal Register but U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has already confirmed the delay on its website.

In November 2008, the Administration published a regulation requiring businesses contracting with the Federal government (“Federal contractors”) to "verify the employment eligibility of: (1) all persons hired during the contract term by the contractor to perform employment duties within the United States; and (2) all persons assigned by the contractor to perform work within the United States on the Federal contract." The regulation was scheduled to take effect on January 15, 2009. For more information about the regulation, please click here.

In late December, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other representative organizations filed a federal lawsuit against the government over its Federal contractor E-Verify program. Because of this lawsuit, the Administration agreed to delay the applicability date of the rule until February 20, 2009.

Recently the Obama Administration issued a memorandum encouraging all federal agencies to extend for 60 days the effective date of regulations that had been published but had not yet taken effect. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce asked the Administration to apply this memorandum to E-Verify for Federal contractors. The Chamber and the government’s lawyers have asked the court to stay the proceedings to permit the new Administration to review the Federal contractor regulation.

At this time, the E-Verify clause for Federal contractors will not be effective until May 21, 2009. Further delays or even a withdrawal of the E-Verify regulation are possible.