Employers sponsoring potential employees for an H-1B specialty occupation work visa this April should be cognizant of the wage level offered to ensure a successful filing.
Last year the H-1B program narrowed its focus on whether sponsored employees were offered wage levels commensurate with their skill set and experience. U.S. employers are required under immigration laws to pay H-1B workers a prevailing wage that is similar to the abilities, skillset and geographic location of their U.S. co-workers. The prevailing wage requirement aims to ensure that H-1B workers are not taken advantage of or used by employers to undercut U.S. workers.
USCIS did not agree with the wage levels of many H-1B petitions filed U.S. employers finding that the duties involved in the occupation of the potential employee do not justify an entry level or one step above-entry level position. H-1B adjudicating officers found the complexity of the job duties to surpass beginner level wage selections made by employers, even though some jobs were clearly filed as entry level.
This trend of analysis in the H-1B program is foreseen to continue this fiscal year. It is important to review thoroughly the job duties of the H-1B position with the four possible wage levels available for each type of occupation. Employers are required to select the wage level that most closely matches the level of experience and supervision required for the H-1B occupation. If the job involves varying levels of responsibility, creative and clear measures must be taken to document how the job requirements fit within a particular wage level so the adjudicating officer can match the prevailing wage with the appropriate job level offered to the H-1B beneficiary.