Department of Labor Releases a Revised Final Rule to Increase Prevailing Wage Levels

Practice Areas

By Min Kim

The Department of Labor (DOL) has published an amended version of their October 2020 rule which will increase prevailing wage levels for employment-based visas including H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, and certain green cards. The rule is scheduled to go into effect on or around March 14, 2021. Under the amended rule, prevailing wages will increase for most occupations, but not as significantly as they did in the original rule.

Background on the Rule

DOL’s original rule increasing prevailing wages was set aside by a federal district court in December 2020 because the rule went into effect immediately and did not allow enough time for the traditional 60-day public comment period.

Prevailing wages are the minimum amount that employers must pay their employees who are in H-1B, H-1B1, E-3 nonimmigrant visa status, and those who are being sponsored for certain employment-based US permanent residency applications. They are determined based on a worker’s occupation type, geographic area, and job responsibilities. Prevailing wages exist to ensure that hiring foreign national workers does not negatively impact US workers.

Next Steps for the Rule

It is unclear whether the incoming Biden administration will maintain, change, or overturn this rule. However, Biden’s team has announced that they will put a temporary hold on all Trump administration rules that have not yet taken effect so that they can review them.

 Our immigration team will closely monitor the development of this rule and will issue any updates as soon as they are available.

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