The U.S Department of Labor Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) has ceased issuing prevailing wage determinations (PWDs) for H-1B and PERM applications until further notice. The NPWC also has ceased reviewing requests for reconsideration or appeals of PWDs to the Center Director. The NPWC has put all determinations on hold in order to comply with a June 15, 2011 court order stemming from a U.S. District Court decision regarding H-2B wage determinations.
The NPWC issued the following statement about the delays in PWD applications:
The OFLC National Prevailing Wage Center is experiencing delays in processing [PWDs] as it is currently working to reissue certain determinations to comply with a court order issued June 15, 2011 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on June 28, 2011, and a Final Rule will be published on August 1. All Center resources are currently being utilized to comply with this court order. The processing of [PWDs], redeterminations, and Center Director Reviews has been temporarily suspended. Processing will resume as soon as full compliance with the court order has been completed by OFLC.
As background, PWDs are optional for H-1B professional temporary worker petitions, but mandatory for permanent labor certification applications (which are part of the "green card" process), and for temporary labor certification applications (which are part of the H-2B nonprofessional temporary worker petitioning process). PWD applications have been suspended since mid-June while the Department of Labor works on the H-2B wage determinations. It is expected that determinations will not resume until later this fall, meaning that currently filed cases will not come back until the end of the year.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association and other stakeholders met with the Department of Labor last week on prevailing wages, and requested some estimate on PWD processing times, as well as discussed whether any relief may be available for PERM cases that must be filed due to AC-21 requirements, expiring recruitment, or other reasons. Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor the situation and report as information becomes available.
Note: This article was published in the August 23, 2011 issue of the Immigration eAuthority.