One of the components of a PERM application is the prevailing wage assessment. The prevailing wage assessment is undertaken by the National Prevailing Wage Centre in the interest of insuring that PERM applicants will receive a salary equal to the average salary of the position in America. This is a tremendously important component of the PERM process for three main reasons. The first reason is that the prevailing wage assessment makes it impossible for domestic businesses to pay unfair wages; either in the form of offering a bloated salary to make the job more enticing, or, in some cases, the ability to underpay a foreign national because of where they are from. Underpaying for highly skilled labor jobs would in fact be very common place without the prevailing wage component because a lot of successful applicants come from India or Pakistan, countries with an extremely weak currency compared to USD.
Prevailing Wage is Easier than Recruitment Rules
The third main reason why the prevailing wage assessment is so important is that if it is not done exactly the way the DOL wants it to be done, they are more than likely to reject the entire application. Luckily enough it’s not as complicated a process as the advertising requirements, however. Advertisement requirements involve reaching out to the general public and offering the job to Americans before applying for PERM. The specifics of running ads for the job are often misunderstood by domestic companies, thus leaving it up to the courts to determine whether proper recruitment has been made and the job really should go to an immigrant. Compared to these concerns, getting a prevailing wage assessment is a relative walk in the park. Here is how it’s done:
Contact the National Prevailing Wage Center – Before filling any forms out, the domestic company must obtain an assessment from the NPWC. While the NPWC will need to know a fair amount of information about the job, it’s not out of the ordinary to ask for the: occupational title, the skill level of the worker, the income source, and the length of the contract. Once the Center has looked over the national average for the listed occupation they will provide the prevailing wage, a tracking number, an SOC code, and the expiration date for the prevailing wage assessment.
The employer must include all this information in the ETA Form 9089 that is the basis of the PERM application.
Go It Alone – It is allowed to bypass the NPWC if time restrictions are an issue. Employers can look up the average salary in the Online Wage Library. While it’s only available to specific programs, getting access to it might be faster than being in mail contact with the NPWC.