PERM – DOL Publishes New Federal Prevailing Wage Determination Request Procedures Effective January 1, 2010

So we thought the new ntroduction of ICERT was bad, listen to this upcoming change. In accordance with its PERM labor certification regulations, the Department of Labor (DOL) has provided notice that the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) National Prevailing Wage and Helpdesk Center (NPWHC) will receive and process prevailing wage determination (PWD) requests for use in the H-1B (specialty occupations), H-1B1 (Chile/Singapore nationals), H-1C (registered nurses), H-2B (temporary and seasonal workers), E-3 (Australian nationals), and permanent labor certification programs starting January 1, 2010.

Under the new centralized process, PWD requests will be filed using Form ETA-9141 and submitted by mail or courier to the NPWHC in Washington, D.C. State Workforce Agencies will continue to process any PWD requests (as well as subsequent prevailing wage challenges) received in their offices through December 31, 2009.

Now for those of you familiar with the H2B process, form 9141 is already being used to obtain the PWD. My experience with H2B processing since the new change is nt positive. Sometimes we have to wait for 30 days to get the PWD. Imagine same story with future H1B cases, nightmare!!! The federal prevailing wage process is likely to result in delayed issuance of wage determinations. Most State Workforce Agencies (SWAs) currently accept and issue PWD requests electronically within 7 business days.

While OFLC is working on an electronic filing system for PWD requests, it remains uncertain as to when it will be implemented. In the meantime, the mailing procedure and overall implementation of this new process will lead to delays in the processing of wage determinations and consequently of PERM applications, which require that employers obtain a PWD prior to filing. This additional processing time should be factored into the preparation time for PERM applications, particularly for individuals nearing their last years in H-1B status.

So best advice, if you are thinking about PERM, file the PWD forms before the rules will take effect. We will keep you posted.