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All You Need to Know About Prevailing Wages and Wage Level H1B for LCA
April 22, 2022
6 mins
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In this article, you will read about:

  • H1 Wage Levels overview
  • Importance of H1B wage levels and prevailing wage
  • How to determine wage levels and prevailing wage

The average salaries earned by a cluster of people working in the same work environment, with similar job descriptions, experience, expertise, and location, is termed 'prevailing wage.' In H1B visa processing, the H1B wage level, also known as the prevailing wage, holds a significant place. They are to be stipulated in the H1B LCA, or Labor Condition Application process.

The main reason for having wage levels is for authorities to ensure that there is no employee exploitation of non-immigrant workers and that they are assured of on-par treatment with US employees in the same position.

Every year the exact figures for H1B Wage Levels or prevailing wage are defined by the Department of Labor, based on data collected under their Occupational Employment Statistics(OES) Program. These figures reflect prevailing wage determinations for people working in similar job descriptions, location, experience, and other similar criteria.

Before you find out how to check Prevailing wage levels for LCA, read to know all about H1B Wage Levels and Prevailing Wages.

An Overview of Wage Level H1B

Based on data collected through the OES program, the Department of Labor defines four H1B wage levels. Each level corresponds to a percentile and implies a certain level of management, seniority, and/or leadership, especially at the higher percentiles and levels. So if you can define the wage level of the job you are looking for, you will find the corresponding prevailing wage and get an idea of whether your employer's proposed salary fulfills the prevailing wage regulations.

In the following section, we will define the four H1B wage levels as defined by the DOL:

    • H1B Entry level: Wage Level1 - H1B entry-level positions correspond to the 17th percentile. These professionals have a basic understanding of the duties and responsibilities associated with the job. Their responsibilities could include:
      • Basic tasks
      • Cursory use of judgement
      • Need for scrutiny and monitoring by management
      • Elaborate task instructions and definition of expected goals
      • Overall general understanding of the job role
    • H1B Qualified level: Wage Level2 - Qualified level positions are set at the 34th percentile on the H1B Wage Level scheme. At this level, candidates are expected to have a higher educational profile and greater experience. They maybe expected to make limited-judgment decisions. Candidate responsibilities could include:
      • An informed understanding of the responsibilities through education or experience
      • Fairly complex tasks
      • Judgment-based tasks
    • H1B Experienced level: Wage Level3 - With experienced level professions, task-complexity increases, and managerial duties may form part of the job role. These are set at the 50th percentile in the wage level scheme. Job roles include:
      • A stronger understanding of the job role through education and on-the-field experience
      • High-level specialization in knowledge and skills
      • High-level use of judgment for effectively executing tasks
      • Supervisory roles
      • Higher-level keywords like head, chief, senior, or lead
    • H1B Fully Competent level: Wage Level4 - Fully competent professionals are set at Wage Level 4 and 67th percentile. These employees have the highest level of expertise, carry out complex tasks, and exercise high levels of judgment on the job. Their roles may include:
      • Planning and conducting that requires self-evaluation and high levels of judgment. This will only come with many years of work experience.
      • Enough advanced skills to select and apply policies and procedures, and maybe even modify these according to requirement.
      • Advanced skills to apply advanced operating procedures to perform unique trouble-shooting operations or solve complexities.
      • The ability to operate independently with only minor technical supervision.
      • Supervisory and managerial duties.

Also Read: A Comprehensive Mini Guide on H1B Prevailing Wage

What is the Importance of H1B Prevailing Wage?

The UCSIS and the Department of Labor work together to validate H1B applications and other work-related visas. Before a prospective H1B job is certified as acceptable, it must pass through the LCA test - the Labor Condition Application process. Many things determine the LCA test results, but the H1B wage levels remain one of the main factors. These are set according to the recommendations of the Department of Labor, determined by the data they can gather.

Here are a few important facts about H1B Wage Levels:

      • Any job classified in the H1B category falls into one of the four H1B wage levels. Salaries are, therefore, determined by the wage level the job falls within - a job at a higher wage level would pay a higher salary, and vice versa.
      • Wage levels are an important factor in getting an LCA approved. You should make sure that the proposed salary of the job you are applying for corresponds to the right wage level and prevailing wage of the job you are applying for. A lower wage will lead to LCA rejection.

How to use FLCDataCentre For Prevailing Wage Determination H1B

For checking the H1B prevailing wage levels using FLCDataCenter in three easy steps:

Step1: Visit the Foreign Labor Certification Data Centre (FLCDataCenter) website. Here you have two options - use the Search Wizard from the menu you will find on the left side of the screen. This wizard will give you a step-by-step search experience where you can start by selecting the state you want to perform the search for. Your other option is to use the Quick Search tab, which gives you a direct search service.

Step2: The next screen will give you options to select your specifications if you use the Search Wizard. You will have to select the Source for Database, which can be put to 'all industries' if you are unsure what to put in. Two other fields will include the area or job location of the job you are applying to and the job title, for which you can select keyword options if you are not sure of an exact title.

Step3: Once all fields have been filled, you will be able to execute the search and find the wage level and minimum wage information that you need.

This search will also return other important information like your position's exact wage level and the Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) code your prospective employer may use for your position.

How to Find Prevailing Wage Levels Using Job Location

It is possible to look for the prevailing wage of a job based on the location. Use the following steps to find yours:

Step1: Visit the Prevailing Wage Search Page on H1BGrader.com.

Step2: Enter the required details. You will have to keep your Area name, Job title, and SOC code information handy for this step.

Step3: The search results will display area-specific H1B visa Wage Levels and minimum wage details for H1B workers in the chosen area.

You can also perform an H1B Prevailing Wage Levels History search and find the record of what prevailing wages were for a specific area over the last five years.

How to Find your H1B Wage Levels with an LCA

You can find your current H1B wage levels and more wage data in Section G of your LCA. It will have all the details of your H1B position and should match the information your H1B employer shared with you.

An LCA search on the H1BGrader site using your LCA number will also give you these details. Your employer should have shared your LCA form. If you have not received these documents, you can ask for them.

The takeaway

H1B visas are approved for specific occupations that have passed the LCA test. The DOL is very particular about H1B LCA wage levels and prevailing wages for each occupation submitted for h-1b approval. Any discrepancies in wages offered to a prospective H1-B worker can result in major consequences. H1B visa petitions may be rejected if the right wages are not stipulated in the LCA. H1B employers who have failed to provide adequate remuneration could face investigation, penalties, back payments, and even be banned from hiring non-immigrant workers for several years.

To start right on your H1B journey, check TechFetch H1B to get all the legitimate information on your H1B visa information. We help you make a strong first step to get you well on your way to an approved H1B visa quickly!

***Disclaimer: H1B rules and regulations keep changing from time to time. For updated information, always refer to the USCIS official website.

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