DOL (Department of Labor) has announced an Interim Final Rule (IFR) titled “Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States”, which has changed how prevailing wages for the H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 jobs are calculated. The proposed DOL new rule will be effective immediately from October 8, 2020.
DOL’s proposed rules will result in very high prevailing wages for all occupations. Specifically, the following chart shows how the percentiles have been increased for computing the wages for each level.
With the New DOL rule, the New Level 1 wages are going to be more than Old Level 2 wages. Similarly the New Level 2 wages are going to be more than Old Level 3 wages. This is going to be hard to digest for H1B petitioners.
Furthermore, our research indicates higher wages under new rule in several counties across the United States. Following chart illustrates the level 1 wage increase for Software Developer - Applications, across 10 locations: Seattle, Dallas, New Jersey, Chicago, Atlanta, Tampa, Phoenix, Boston, Charlotte and Philadelphia.
At first glance, it looks like good news for H1b employees as this would increase their salaries. For the H-1B petitioners it's a steep increase in costs and could potentially reduce the appetite for hiring H-1B employees. The H-1B employees need to be careful as it is a double edge situation, in which the H-1B jobs could disappear as the appeal around H-1B jobs decreases considerably, which could potentially force them to leave the country. F-1 Visa holders on OPT or STEM-OPT who are fresh out of college may find it difficult to find an employer who can sponsor their H-1B visa with higher prevailing wages.
It is expected that DOL's new rule will be challenged in the court.
Learn more about the New DHS and DOL rules.
Presidential Bill H.R 8337. President recently signed H.R. 8337 Bill, which will fund the government and address USCIS’s budget shortfall. The bill expands premium processing service to other categories of Immigration like Employment Authorization Document (EAD), Extensions or Change of status (e.g. H-4 to F-1), and few others. It will increase the premium processing fee from $1,440 to $2,500 for H-1B and L-1 applicants. There will be a fee of $1,750 for EAD and change of status requests for F, J and other Visas. It also increases processing time from 2 weeks to 4 weeks or longer. But the USCIS is yet to provide further guidelines on how they will implement the new process.
Injunction of Fee Increase. California Dist. Court granted an injunction against DHS on implementation of new fee rule effective October 2, 2020 (new USCIS fee rule). Therefore, DHS adheres to the injunction and will not increase fee while injunction is in effect. Its a tremendous relief for people applying for Citizenship/Naturalization, Adjustment of Status, etc.
Limited Injunction on temporary suspension of certain immigrants into USA. Court granted an injunction on temporary suspension of certain immigrants into US (H-1B and others). But the benefit is only available to plaintiffs who sought the injunction against the DHS. Some of the plaintiffs are Technet, National Association of Manufactures and few others. This is not a nationwide injunction and employees of such companies/associations can make use of this injunction.
Stringent enforcement of Affidavit of Support. USCIS is going to publish a new rule which would make sponsors of immigrant petitioners (I-864) accountable for their attestations on affidavit of support. Furthermore, petitioners who have received means tested public benefits within the last 36 months of submitting the I-864 form need to be backed by a joint sponsor who has not received such benefits.
Next: We have recently posted an article on questions we get frequently on I-485 Filing. You may be interested in that article too.