The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

CUPA-HR Files Comments on Behalf of Higher Education to Inform DOL RFI on Prevailing Wage Levels for Foreign Workers

On June 1, CUPA-HR, joined by five other higher education associations, submitted comments in response to the Department of Labor’s Request for Information (RFI) about data and methods for determining prevailing wage levels for temporary and permanent immigrant and non-immigrant employees, including employees on H1-B visas.

The DOL’s RFI was issued shortly before the agency determined it would delay, by 18 months, the prior administration’s final rule to raise government prevailing wage minimums for foreign professional workers under the H-1B and other visa programs. The RFI asks for information on “the sources of data and methodologies for determining prevailing wage levels covering … foreign workers on a permanent or temporary basis” in order to help the DOL review the final rule and potentially develop “a future notice of proposed rulemaking to revise the computation of prevailing wage levels” in a more effective manner.

In a collaborative effort between CUPA-HR’s government relations team and CUPA-HR’s research team, the comments provide data and analysis of the association’s salary surveys, which will assist the DOL in developing a more realistic and appropriate method for calculating prevailing wage levels. For instance, our analysis shows that H-1B employees are not underpaid compared to U.S. workers similarly employed in higher ed — DOL’s primary reason for issuing the final rule — and that basing wage data on wage bands collected by BLS and classified by SOC codes is not sufficient in the higher ed context.

Given that the DOL’s review is in the early stages, it may be some time before more is known about the fate of the final rule. When that happens, CUPA-HR will be sure to inform members of any future rulemaking changes as soon as they occur.


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