On July 1 of each year, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) publishes prevailing wage rates and salaries that establish a floor for what U.S. businesses must pay foreign workers hired under H-2B and other work visa programs. The prevailing wage rates for seasonal H-2B visa workers announced on July 1 apply for a 12-month period through June 30th of the following year. These wage rates are established separately for each occupation and geographic labor market area so that wages and working conditions for comparable U.S. workers are not adversely affected. The H-2B program has a single prevailing wage, the mean wage from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) Survey, for each occupation and labor market area.
We have developed a tool—the interactive tables below—that provides a preview of the prevailing wages that the OFLC will officially announce on July 1, 2022. Our interactive tool focuses on 46 occupations that account for a substantial majority of H-2B visas in over 3,000 combinations of states and counties. The wage projections we present have a high degree of accuracy. Using the tables, one can select a state, county, and occupation code/title. The wages are reported by calendar year according to the OEWS data tabulations. Due to delays in collecting, processing, and publishing information, 2021 wages are used to set the prevailing wage that will be announced in July of this year and 2020 wages correspond to the current prevailing wage.
Our interactive tool is helpful because the percentage change in projected prevailing wages can be substantially different for different occupations and labor market areas. For example, for Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers, the most common occupation for H-2B visa holders, one finds that:
- For Maricopa County, Arizona and other counties in the Phoenix MSA, the prevailing wage will increase by 11.1% from $14.91 to $16.57.
- For Jackson County, Missouri, and other counties in the Kansas City MSA, the prevailing wage will decrease by 13.5% from $19.56 to $16.92.
Calculation and methodology notes:
For links to OFLC prevailing wage data as well as answers to frequently asked questions about occupation codes, geographic areas and wage levels see: https://www.flcdatacenter.com/.
OFLC prevailing wage levels are based on wage information collected by the BLS Occupational Employment and Wages Statistics (OEWS) program (see details at https://www.bls.gov/oes/oes_emp.htm#scope).
Wages in the interactive table above rely upon the OEWS data for calendar years 2020 and 2021. Our prevailing wage projections directly correspond to the average wages for the same detailed occupation and geographic area.