New Online Prevailing Wage System for PERM and H-1B

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has announced on January 14, 2010 that a new online prevailing wage system for PERM and H-1B will be launched on January 21, 2010. This is a big change in DOL’s practice regarding the prevailing wage determination system. For the past decade, prevailing wage determination for PERM and H-1B has been performed by State Workforce Agency. Employers who request a determination for a prevailing wage need to file an application with the state wage agent when a position is offered. Under the PERM system, a prevailing wage determination must be received prior to filing the PERM labor certification, the first step in an employment sponsored immigration petition.

DOL began this new centralized system on January 1st, but it has only been available through paper filing for the first couple of weeks. The new online prevailing wage system will be incorporated into the existing iCert system that DOL currently uses to handle Labor Condition Applications for H-1B petitions.

The newly updated iCert system will have several upgraded features. Once logging into iCert, a user will immediately be able to see case activity and the status and decision passed on the last ten applications submitted. Now, users will be able to electronically file and manage Form 9141 in a similar fashion to LCA Form 9035. If a user does not finish an application in one sitting, he/she can save the application and return to it later. Users can also withdraw submitted applications or delete unfinished ones. In addition, a user can reuse information from an old application for a new one. Via the upgraded system, printable forms and other instructions are now directly accessible from the prevailing wage application. On applications that have received decisions, users can also electronically request a Redetermination Review. Finally, the new system will accord much more control over sub-accounts, allowing users to block or grant access to the prevailing wage feature.

iCert system is a centralized federal system which will provide solution to ample prior problems with the prevailing wage determination. In the past, there were variations in practice and standards from state to state. Due to this, the new prevailing wage system will be subject to more universal standards which will make it more reliable, and much more predictable regarding cases for any position around the nation.

We hope that this innovative way will work in an efficient way. We will make you aware about the technical issues of this new system, if any.