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What Is the Prevailing Wage Determination?

  • Apr 17 2020

Obtaining a PERM labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is the critical first step to obtaining an employment-based green card. The employer works to obtain the labor certification on behalf of the person seeking permanent U.S. resident status. There are several steps within the PERM labor certification process. For instance, the employer must go through a recruitment process to make sure there are no able, willing, and qualified U.S. workers for the employment position they are looking to fill with the foreign national applicant. Another part of the PERM labor certification is obtaining the prevailing wage determination.

Understanding the Prevailing Wage Gap

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) mandates that foreign workers being in the U.S. cannot come at a detriment to other U.S. workers. Because of this, the wages a PERM application employer proposes to pay to a foreign national must be comparable to what other employees in similar occupations and job positions are being paid. The prevailing wage determination helps prevent the exploitation of foreign labor at risk of being paid lower wages. It helps prevent U.S. workers from being passed over for job positions because the employer is looking to hire a foreign national who will accept lower wages.

In other words, U.S. immigration law requires that U.S. employers pay foreign workers, at a minimum, the prevailing wage for the employment position. To make sure this happens, the employer must get the PERM prevailing wage determination. The employer must submit a request for the prevailing wage to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The request must be submitted directly to the DOL on form ETA 9141. The DOL defines the PERM prevailing wage as “the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the area of intended employment.” The DOL will take several factors into account when determining the PERM prevailing wage of a particular job position. In many cases, the DOL employs its Online Wage Library when determining the PERM Prevailing wage. The wage of the applicant’s job position will be matched to the wages paid by similar job positions by matching things like:

  • Skill set
  • Level of Education
  • Experience
  • Geographic location
  • Level of supervision required

In the alternative, an employer has the option of requesting that the prevailing wage determination be based on an approved private wage survey. The private survey, however, must comply with all pertinent DOL regulations. Once recruitment has taken place and the prevailing wage determination has been obtained, the employer may proceed with the PERM certification process.

Immigration Attorney

An employment-based green card is a popular option for those seeking U.S. permanent resident status. The PERM application process is, however, complex. It is easy to get lost in the details. Talamantes Immigration Law is here to keep you on the right path. We can walk you through the process and help ensure that you comply with all requirements. Contact Talamantes Immigration Law Firm today.

Posted in: Employment Based Immigration