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DOL rule updates prevailing wage calculations in foreign worker programs

The U.S. Department of Labor on Oct. 6 issued an Interim Final Rule that updates the prevailing wage methodology the department uses in several foreign worker programs.

Through a review of the Permanent Employment Certification, H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 Visa programs, the department said it had determined that the existing wage methodology led to potential abuses of these programs that in some cases undermine the wages and job opportunities of U.S. workers

Those harms had been exacerbated by the recent effects of the COVID-19 public health emergency on the U.S. labor market, creating a need for “immediate corrective action,” the department said.

The IFR is intended to improve the accuracy of prevailing wages paid to foreign workers by bringing them in line with the wages paid to similarly employed U.S. workers.

When seeking to use an H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 visa, U.S. employers must attest that they will pay nonimmigrant workers, during the period of authorized employment, the higher of the prevailing wage or the actual wage paid to other employees with similar experience and qualifications.

When an employer seeks to hire an immigrant under an EB-2 or EB-3 classification, the employer must seek to recruit U.S. workers for the position using a prevailing wage issued by the DOL, and, if no willing, available and qualified workers are found, promise to pay the foreign worker used to fill the position the prevailing wage.

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