US issues final wage rules for H-1B, green card holders to prevent 'abuses'
The US department of labour (DOL) on Tuesday announced final wages rule in its last-minute attempt to push the so-called protectionist policy of the Trump administration. The department said that the US employers, seeking H-1B, H-1B1 or E-3 visas for foreign workers, must attest that they will pay non-immigrant workers the higher of the prevailing wage or the actual wage paid to other employees with similar experience and qualifications.
The final wages rule also directs employers to recruit US workers for the position, on the prevailing wage issued by the department, when seeking to hire an immigrant under an EB-2 or EB-3 classification. US secretary of labour Eugene Scalia said in a statement that the department is taking these steps to strengthen “wage protections, address abuses in visa programs, and protect American workers from being undercut by cheaper foreign labour.”
The final rule was announced days after the department published an interim final rule and invited public comments. It will be effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register. Scalia said that the department has adjusted the wages levels used in the interim final rule to “better reflect market wages and included provisions to smooth the transition to the new wage levels.”
“The prevailing wage rates in these programs serve to protect US workers from unfair competition posed by the entry of lower-cost foreign labour into the US labour market,” the department stated.
The H-1B visa allows American companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The US employers have been hiring tens of thousands of foreign worker every year from countries like India and China. Last week, USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow claimed that the H-1B visa program has been “exploited and abused by employers” primarily seeking to fill entry-level positions and reduce overall business costs.