What Is the Prevailing Wage Determination?

There are many steps on the pathway to obtaining a green card. For those who seek to qualify for a green card based on employment, the sponsoring employer will usually have to obtain a PERM Labor Certification on behalf of the green card applicant. The PERM process is implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) in order to prevent U.S. employers from hiring immigrant labor at a reduced salary over qualified U.S. workers. This is why the sponsoring employer needs to go through an extensive recruitment process to ensure that there are no able, willing and qualified U.S. workers available to fill the job position. This is also why the prevailing wage determination is a critical element in the PERM Labor Certification process.

What is the Prevailing Wage Determination?

The DOL defines the prevailing wage as “the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the area of intended employment.” The National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) is responsible for determining the prevailing wage based on data gathered throughout the U.S. The NPWC will align the job offered with other offered positions with a similar:

  • Geographic location
  • Required set of skills
  • Education requirements
  • Experience requirements
  • Required supervision

Also, in many cases, the DOL will access its Online Wage Library in order to determine the prevailing wage. The Online Wage Library is based on the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey. The sponsoring employer also has the ability to request that the prevailing wage determination be made based on an approved private wage survey. There are several DOL regulations with which a private survey must comply in order for it to be used in a prevailing wage determination. All prevailing wage determination requests must be submitted to the DOL on Form ETA 9141.

In some cases, an employer may misunderstand the prevailing wage determination. In other cases, the employer may intentionally try and pay employee a wage that falls below the PERM prevailing wage determination. In both types of cases, it is likely that a DOL targeted audit will be triggered. In the event of a targeted audit, you will be required to submit all information relating to the prevailing wage and how it was determined as well as all recruitment related information. This must be submitted to a Certifying Officer.

The Certifying Officer is tasked with thoroughly reviewing this documentation and information. If the Certifying Officer finds that an employer tried to pay the immigrant employee a wage falling below the prevailing wage, then the PERM application will most likely be denied. If the employer posted the job opportunity with a compensation level that fell below the prevailing wage in an attempt to deter U.S. workers from applying, it is also likely that the PERM application will be denied.

Immigration Law Attorneys

The path to a green card is extremely complicated and many people can get lost in the process. That is why the trusted immigration law attorneys at Nachman, Phulwani, Zimovcak Law Group, P.C. take the opportunity to meet with clients and answer all of their questions. Our clients trust us to take the best possible care of them and we work tirelessly to do so. Contact us today.

If you should have any questions or need more information about the ways in which the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Laws may impact you, your family, your friends or your colleagues, please contact the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers at the NPZ Law Group – VISASERVE – U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers by e-mailing us at info@visaserve.com or by calling us at 201-670-0006 (x107). You can also visit our Law Firm’s website at www.visaserve.com