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DOL Final Rule Ignores Comments, Hikes PERM, H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 Wages

January 12, 2021 (1 min read)

Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 9 / Thursday, January 14, 2021 - "In this final rule, the Department of Labor (the Department or DOL) adopts with changes an Interim Final Rule (IFR) that amended Employment and Training Administration (ETA) regulations governing the prevailing wages for employment opportunities that United States (U.S.) employers seek to fill with foreign workers on a permanent or temporary basis through certain employment-based immigrant visas or through H–1B, H–1B1, or E–3 nonimmigrant visas. Specifically, the IFR amended the Department’s regulations governing permanent (PERM) labor certifications and Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) to incorporate changes to the computation of wage levels under the Department’s four-tiered wage structure based on the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) wage survey administered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The primary purpose of these changes is to update the computation of prevailing wage levels under the existing four-tier wage structure to better reflect the actual wages earned by U.S. workers similarly employed to foreign workers. This final rule will allow the Department to more effectively ensure the employment of immigrant and nonimmigrant workers admitted or otherwise provided status through the above-referenced programs does not adversely affect the wages and job opportunities of U.S. workers. DATES: This final rule is effective March 15, 2021."

Suzanne Monyack, Law360 - "David Bier, an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, told Law360 on Tuesday that while the new final rule "corrected the most glaring problems" in the earlier version, he still took issue with the department's methodology of calculating the new tiers, particularly at the higher wage levels. He added that the "core premise" of the rule itself is "flawed," since existing laws and regulations already require employers to pay their foreign workers comparably to U.S. workers in the area and industry when the prevailing wage rate is too low. "At the end of the day, they basically ignored so many comments, so much evidence that what they were doing is contrary to the law, contrary to the economic reality," Bier said."