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The Rules, Requirements & Other Details About H1B Wages
April 25, 2022
9 mins
Close-up view of a hand arranging the letters engraved onto wooden blocks to form the word WAGE, with the final one in the form of an up and down arrow symbol.

In this blog, we have discussed the following topics under H1B Wages:

  • H1B wage rules
  • H1B wage levels
  • Wage level requirements
  • H1B Lottery according to WageWage Levels

The H1B Wage Rules & Their Significance

In the USA, H-IB visas are issued by the USCIS to foreign workers who work in specialty jobs under US-based employers. Among the many rules and regulations laid by the USCIS, one of the most prominent rules is that all H1B employees are paid fair wages for the job position and duties they handle. H1B wages are a major aspect of obtaining H1B approval and compliance with USCIS regulations.

Before heading into the details of the H1B wage rules and its significance, know what is the minimum salary requirement for H1B visa.

If you aspire to work in the US with an H1B visa, you must know about the H1B wage-based work visa regime. In the new regime, employers whose proposed salary equals or exceeds the prevailing wage level in their field are given priority in visa selections. The "proffered wage" indicates the salary that your employer intends to pay you for the job.

The wage-based work regime is based on these two factors:

  • It considers the foreign employee's skills and expertise and checks if such a skill set is available at the same cost amongst American employees.
  • The analysis is done for both 65,000 regular visas and 20,000 advanced degree exemption visas.

USCIS states that it is not possible to judge the skill set of all applicants to the H-1B work visa regime individually. Hence salaries are the best indicators to deem that employers pay high wages only to the most deserving applicants. The H1B work visa regime will also ensure that US workers will obtain jobs that they can do.

The USCIS also has certain wage levels to indicate the average salary H1B workers are paid in specific job areas. The wage levels are based on information from Foreign Labor Application Data Centre. Since different jobs have various income levels, they are ranked from levels 1 to 4, with four as the highest level.

Here's a compilation of the various wage levels.

The Four H1B Wage Levels

1. H-1B Wage Level 1

It is the entry-level wage for H-1B employees and falls in the 17th percentile. Employees with a basic knowledge and understanding of carrying out the job's duties fall in this category. Wage level 1 is in the 17th percentile.

2. H-1B Wage Level 2

Level 2 falls in the 34th percentile and has H-1B workers with relevant educational qualifications and experience.

3. H-1B Wage Level 3

Level 3 forms the 50th percentile and is given to experienced, longstanding employees who have an in-depth understanding of the job, only attainable through years of experience. Wage level 3 may also include management work.

4. H-1B Wage Level 4

It is the final level and complies with the 67th percentile. This level is designated for competent H1B workers who specialize in their field and handle high-level responsibilities at the managerial level.

Every H1B wage level decides what your remuneration will be. There are some important aspects to keep in mind with wage levels:

  • The higher the wage level, the higher your salary.
  • You must earn the salary determined by your H1B wage level for the specialty job.
  • You cannot earn a lower salary than the determined amount. If you do, you will not qualify for LCA approval.

Therefore, if you are applying for an H1B job, you must assure that your H1B salary level justifies your case for an H1B visa. The USCIS may reject your visa if your job does not pay you a remuneration that falls into the determined H1B wage levels.

Why are Wage Levels Important?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services works with the US Department of Labor (DoL) to issue employment-based visas to ensure that no foreign worker is exploited by their employers. It is a prime reasons why all foreign employees must pass the LCA or Labor Condition Application test to qualify for an H1B visa. This test also ensures that employees in every H1B wage level are paid fairly according to their education and work experience.

Also Read: LCA for H1B Visa - Stay on Top of The Facts!

H1B Lottery Based on Wage Levels: The Latest Information

The Department of Homeland Security published a new wage rule, H1B, on Nov 2, 2020, to alter how the H1B Visa Lottery would work during the H1B Registration Process. The final rule was published on Jan 7th, 2021, and took effect on March 9, 2021. However, the Biden Administration had postponed the effective date to December 31st, 2021. The USCIS lost a legal battle which prompted it to withdraw the same rule in December 2021.

The final regulation published in the federal register by DHS is summarized below.

  • H1B registrations ranking

The USCIS ranks H1B registrations in accordance with the Occupational Employment Statistics-wage levels selected by employers during registration. The registrations for H1B visas will be sorted in descending order from Wage Level IV, III, II, and I.

  • Selecting the highest wage level H1B registrations

Next, the USCIS selects the maximum wage level registration with Wage Level IV, III, II and I. To fulfill the H1B cap quota, USCIS will select enough registrations.

  • Multiple H1B Visa Registrations for the Same Level

A random lottery will be conducted to select the necessary H1B registrations in the case of multiple registrations at the same wage level. Only the wages with the most registrations will be selected.

  • Multiple work locations for LCA in H1B

Employers can mention multiple work locations for H1B workers in the LCA, and consequently, existing wage levels will differ by location. To determine which wage level to select in the lottery, DHS would use the minimum matching wage level in such cases.

  • H1B extensions and amendments after the Lottery

According to DHS, the employer cannot change the petition for the same employee to a lower wage level, once the H1B lottery is carried out. The USCIS will revoke the petition if any such amendments are made.

  • Wage Levels Only During Lottery Situations

The Department of Homeland Security says that it will only implement all the selection rules if it needs to run an H1B lottery due to excessive registrations or petitions filed that year. The rules will not apply in case there are lesser than eighty five thousand petitions.

  • No Changes to the H1B Lottery Order

H1B Lottery's order is not going to change. Using the new lottery selection methods, the first sixty five thousand regular quota slots will be filled, then twenty thousand Master's slots will be filled using the same procedure.

Kindly Note:
On December 21st, 2021, USCIS released an official press release announcing that the H1B Lottery final rule which is based on wage levels is being withdrawn.

Get TechFetch H1B help with the H1B wage level rule:

Would you like to better understand H1B salary level rules? Just give us a call, and our TechFetch H1B experts will help you understand these details with better clarity. Do call us to fix an appointment at the earliest.

**Disclaimer: All H1B visa processes are subject to change. Kindly refer to the USCIS website to get the latest updates.

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