As an H-1B employer, you have to pay the H-1B employee the higher of either the actual or prevailing wage (this is called the “required wage.).
What is the actual wage?
The actual wage is the wage rate paid by the employer to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment. If there are no other employees with similar experience and qualifications for that specific employment, the actual wage is the wage paid to the H-1B employee.
What is the prevailing wage?
The prevailing wage is the wage set for the particular occupational classification in the geographic area of employment by:
- Union contract, or
- the weighted average of wages paid to similarly employed workers (i.e., workers having substantially comparable jobs in the occupational classification) in the geographic area of employment).
Why do I have to pay the required wage to the H-1B employees? Why is regulated?
The purpose of the H-1B visa is to help U.S. employers who cannot otherwise obtained needed skills from the U.S. workforce. The H-1B employees must be paid the required wage to protect similarly employed U.S. workers from being adversely affected by the employment of the H-1B employees and to also protect the H-1B workers so they are not underpaid.
How do I find out what it the prevailing wage?
A great website where you can check what is the prevailing wage for the specific occupation in the specific area of employment is Foreign Labor Certification Data Center website. Please note that the prevailing wage is determined as of the time of filing the application. Therefore, once you get the Labor Condition Application (“LCA”) certified, you will be able to pay the H-1B employee the wage listed on the certified LCA, even though the prevailing wage may increase in time.
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