U.S. Department of Labor (Employment and Training Administration) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Publish New Rules on Prevailing Wages, H-1B
1. DOL Publishes Rule: “Strengthening Wage Protections for the Temporary and Permanent Employment of Certain Aliens in the United States.”
On October 8, 2020, the US Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration published an Interim Final Rule that changes the way the “prevailing wage” is determined in a wide array of occupations and fields/disciplines. The Rule applies to new and extension H-1B and E-3 visa petitions and to PERM Labor Certifications (in support of permanent residence petitions). It does not apply retroactively or change any employee’s current wages.
The Rule is effective immediately and may, in certain fields, significantly increase the minimum amounts that must be paid to employees sponsored in these categories. The International Scholars Office staff are available to answer questions from DLCs and individuals who may be impacted.
Although the Rule takes effect immediately, it includes a 30-day public comment period. The government is required to review the comments it receives and may amend the Interim Rule following the comment period. Private sector, academic, and non-profit institutions, as well as human resources and personnel organizations, are expected to submit comments to the US Department of Labor. MIT is reviewing the Rule and evaluating its next steps, including how we may participate in the comment process.
The Rule is also being challenged in federal court. We will provide an update if the Rule is modified or suspended as a result of these legal challenges.
MIT, as a world-class academic and research institution, is committed to bringing the most talented, creative, and qualified individuals from around the country and around the world to instruct, mentor, train and collaborate with the next generation of thinkers, innovators, teachers, creators and researchers.
Immigration-related developments and announcements are posted on a regular basis on the Major Immigration Alerts and Updates and the MIT International Scholars Office websites.
2. DHS Publishes Rule: “Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program”
On October 8, 2020, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published an Interim Final Rule regarding the H-1B non-immigrant visa for temporary workers in specialty occupations. While we do not anticipate that the Rule will have a significant impact on our H-1B program, we will continue to monitor the situation closely. The Rule, which takes effect 60 days after publication (December 7, 2020), amends existing regulations governing the H-1B program, including the definition and standards for a “specialty occupation.” MIT submits H-1B temporary worker petitions for international faculty and researchers. We believe their qualifications in their fields will continue to satisfy the amended specialty occupation criteria described in the Rule. Please note that all approved MIT H-1B petitions remain in effect. Employees with concerns may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A summary of the Rule can be seen here.