How the DOL Sudden Mandatory Pay Increase Will Affect the H-1B Program
The H-1B visa allows US employers to employ highly-skilled foreign workers temporarily to fill specialty occupations. If you currently have H-1B employees, it may be time to talk to an H1B visa lawyer in NYC because the recent changes can have a dramatic effect on your business.
Mandatory pay increase
Early in October, the Department of Labor released an interim final rule increasing wages for H-1B category workers by about 30% at each level in the four-level wage tier laid out by federal law. The appropriate salary rate for guest workers is determined by the nature of the job and the region where they will be employed. The increase targets current wage rates for:
• H-1B visa workers
• H-1B1 specialty occupations guest workers from Singapore and Chile, and
• specialty occupation E-3 workers from Australia.
It raises their pay to the 45th, 62nd, 78th, and 95th percentiles from the current 17th, 34th, 50th, and 67th percentiles of the wage distribution.
A good percentage of H-1B workers are engineers, professors, researchers, nurses, computer programmers, and other highly skilled professionals with specialized knowledge usually attained by completing a college degree.
Resistance from business owners
Small businesses are voicing concerns that the increase is way too high and are unaffordable for many of them, especially these days. The public health crisis and the subsequent economic slowdown has made it difficult for many companies to keep the lights on, and a mandatory wage increase certainly won’t help. Many also say that the move effectively makes it impossible for smaller companies—particularly startups—to hire key foreign talent.
Talk to a NY H1B lawyer if you need legal guidance on how the new regulations will affect you if you are currently employing or intend to hire foreign guest workers under this visa category. Find an immigration lawyer in New York that specializes in helping businesses employ foreign national employees.