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H-1B Prevailing Wages and Alternative Surveys

Article: H-1B Prevailing Wages and Alternative Surveys

Szabo, Zelnick & Erickson, P.C.

Filing an H-1B petition requires strategic planning and careful preparation. One factor often overlooked is the need to pay the sponsored employee 100% of the prevailing wage for the offered position. Prevailing wage guidelines can be found through the Department of Labor's Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), by entering the work site (by state and county) and the occupational classification into the online wage library (http://www.flcdatacenter.com/OesWizardStart.aspx). Additionally, you can confirm the prevailing wage for an offered position by submitting a prevailing wage request to a State Workforce Agency in order to receive a prevailing wage determination.

Did you know, however, that you are not tied to the Department of Labor's online wage library for the H-1B prevailing wage? If the position is not covered by a collective bargaining agreement, an alternative wage survey can be used. This includes private surveys obtained by the employer. Many businesses use these private surveys anyway to determine the appropriate level of compensation for employees throughout the company. If the employer does not already subscribe to a private survey, some private surveys are available on an individual basis for a fee. This can be helpful where the Department of Labor's online wage library is not in line with the salary offered to the H-1B beneficiary employee.


If you decide to use an alternative wage survey, you'll need to make sure the survey meets the Department of Labor's standards. These standards include the following:

  • The data must be current - collected within 24 months of the publication date of the survey.
  • The survey must be current - use the most current edition and be sure it was published within 24 months of the date of submission of the Labor Condition Application.
  • The data must be for the relevant job and area - representing similar jobs in the area of intended employment-generally considered an area within commuting distance of the H-1B worksite.
  • The job descriptions for the survey job and the offered H-1B position must match.
  • The data must have been collected across industries that employ workers in the same occupation as the H-1B offered position.
  • The survey should include the mean/weighted average/median of wages for workers in the appropriate occupational classification in the area of intended employment.
  • The survey must identify the methodology that was used to collect the data.

Jerry Erickson is the managing partner of Szabo, Zelnick, & Erickson, P.C.(www.szelaw.com), in Woodbridge, Virginia. He is the senior attorney in the firm's Business Immigration Section. He has practiced law for over 20 years and represents clients in numerous complex areas of immigration law. He can be reached at jerickson@szelaw.com or (703) 494-7171.

The above information is provided for informational purposes only. The information should not be construed as legal advice and does not constitute an engagement of the Szabo, Zelnick & Erickson, P.C. law firm or establish an attorney-client relationship with any of its attorneys. An attorney-client relationship with our firm is only created by signing a written agreement with our firm.

About the author: Jerry Erickson is the managing partner of Szabo, Zelnick, & Erickson, P.C. www.szelaw.com and the senior attorney in the firms Business Immigration Section. He has practiced law for over twenty years and represents clients in numerous complex areas of immigration law. He can be reached at jerickson@szelaw.com. Jerry has been a partner with the firm since 1989. Prior to joining the firm, Jerry was selected for a Judicial Clerkship in 1984 to work for the Judges of the Circuit Court of Prince William County. The Prince William County Bar Association has previously elected Jerry to serve as one of its members on the Judicial Selection Committee. He has also been selected to lecture on behalf of the Virginia State Bar on issues related to ethics and professionalism. Jerry received his Bachelors Degree from George Mason University in 1981 and his Juris Doctor from George Mason School of Law in 1984. He has been a member of the Virginia State Bar Association since 1984 and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the International Business Committee and the Virginia State Bar International Practice Section. He is admitted to practice in the U. S. District Courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit as well as the U.S. Supreme Court.

Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/immigration-articles/h1b-prevailing-wages-and-alternative-surveys-847395.html



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