Revised Department of Labor Prevailing Wage Rule 

Update: February 1, 2021

As predicted, on January 20, 2021, the Biden administration signed the Regulatory Freeze Pending Review memorandum, which encouraged government agencies to postpone the effective dates of any published rules that had not yet taken effect. 

Today, the Department of Labor (DOL) published a notice proposing to delay the effective date of the revised prevailing wage by 60 days, from March 15, 2021 to May 14, 2021. This delay will provide the incoming administration with the opportunity to review to content of the new rule.

This page will be updated with any new information as it is announced.

Update: January 14, 2021

Today, the US Department of Labor (DOL) published a revised prevailing wage rule that increases wage requirements for H-1B and E-3 cases, as well as green card PERM cases. Although this rule is effective sixty days from today, the new prevailing wage requirements will not go into go effect until July 1, 2021.   

Although the new minimums are not as high as initially sought by DOL last October, the revised rule will increase prevailing wages as follows: 

  • Level I from the 17th percentile to the 35th percentile 
  • Level II from the 34th percentile to the 53rd percentile 
  • Level III from the 50th percentile to the 72nd percentile 
  • Level IV from the 67th percentile to the 90th percentile 

Before the wage requirements go into effect, it is likely to face lawsuits, similar to DOL’s last attempt to increase prevailing wages in October 2020. In addition, President-elect Biden has promised to issue a memo on his first day in office to halt or pause for at least sixty days any Trump administration regulations that have not taken effect by the inauguration date. This will allow the new administration time to review and determine whether the regulations should take effect. 

Please feel free to contact your ISSS advisor should you have any questions. ISSS will continue to update the Emory community with any new developments. 

December 2, 2020

Federal Court Strikes Down October 8th Rules

On December 1, 2020, a federal district court struck down DHS and DOL rules issued on October 8 (described below) that significantly impacted the H-1B program and H-1B/E-3/PERM prevailing wage values without advance notice. The court has found that DHS and DOL did not have good cause to bypass notice and comment rulemaking procedures in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. As a result, this court decision immediately blocks both rules from being enforced or implemented.  

ISSS is reviewing which scholar cases may have been impacted. Please feel free to contact your ISSS advisor if you have any questions about how this ruling affects a pending request. 

October 9, 2020

Two Government Rules Impacting the H-1B & E-3 Programs

On October 8, 2020, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Labor (DOL) published companion Interim Final Rules impacting the H-1B program and the prevailing wage requirements associated with hiring H-1B and E-3 employees.

Below is a brief summary of changes. Since these rule changes are significant, we strongly recommend that you sign up for the virtual webinar to learn how these changes will impact your H-1B and E-3 employees.

In a highly unprecedented move, DOL published a new rule without a grace period before the effective date. This means the new DOL rule is in effect immediately. What’s in this rule?
• Implements new methods for determining prevailing wage levels
• Increases prevailing wage level value

DHS rule will go into effect on December 7, 2020. What’s in this rule?
• Tightens the definitions of “specialty occupation,” “third-party worksite,” and more
• Increases standards for a specialty occupation
• Limits H-1B approvals to 1 year if an H-1B employee will work at a third-party worksit