The Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Foreign Labor Certification's (OFLC) National Prevailing Wage Center (NPWC) continues to be backlogged in issuing Prevailing Wage Determinations (PWDs) due to priority processing of prevailing wage redeterminations of approximately 4,000 H-2B cases. Requests for PWDs filed in early June 2011 are still pending. In the past, such requests were usually processed in three to four weeks. Because the NPWC handles PWDs for the PERM labor certification, H-1B, H-1B1 (Chile/Singapore), H-2B, and E-3 programs, the recent temporary suspension of processing PWDs, redeterminations, and Center Director Reviews has left many employers at an impasse, as they are unable to secure first-rate foreign talent within expected timeframes.
The NPWC has been issuing the following e-mail in response to practitioner and employer inquiries: The OFLC National Prevailing Wage Center is experiencing delays in processing prevailing wage determinations 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 Prevailing Wage Determinations, 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.
On Thursday, August 18, 2011, DOL held a call with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and other stakeholders to discuss the suspension of prevailing wage determinations. While DOL did not specify a date when it would complete the H-2B redeterminations, it was confirmed they must all be issued before September 30 in order to comply with the court order. As the H-2B backlog for redeterminations becomes current, DOL will process PERM and H-1B PWD requests.