The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published an Interim Final Rule (IFR) that will become effective immediately. The new rule will apply to Permanent Employment Certification, H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 Visa programs. DOL explains that the rule is necessary to curb actual and potential abuses of the visa programs and cites the COVID-19 public health emergency as a rationale for implementing this rule without public comment first. There is a 30-day window to comment post publication.
DOL has amended the existing wage methodology and has increased the wage levels for beneficiaries at all Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) levels – Levels 1 through 4. The current wage percentiles are set as follows:
OES Wage Level 1 – 17th Percentile
OES Wage Level 2 – 34th Percentile
OES Wage Level 3 – 50th Percentile
OES Wage Level 4 – 67th Percentile
The new percentiles are as follows:
OES Wage Level 1 – 45th Percentile
OES Wage Level 2 – 62nd Percentile
OES Wage Level 3 – 78th Percentile
OES Wage Level 4 – 95th Percentile
This may have a dramatic impact on wage determinations.