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All employers wishing to sponsor H-1B visas for international employees have to comply with federal regulations regarding fair wages using the Department of Labor (DOL) prevailing wage and Labor Condition Application (LCA) systems. These DOL regulations are designed to protect U.S. workers by requiring employers to attest that no U.S. workers are displaced by the hiring of international scholars and that there are no strikes or lockouts. The regulations also prevent exploitation of foreign workers by ensuring that their wages are not lower than other workers in similar positions at the same employer.
The first step in any H-1B application (the first H-1B or an extension) is to demonstrate that the H-1B employee is being paid the “actual wage” or “prevailing wage” whichever is higher. This procedure alone (there are several steps in the H-1B application process) can take over 30 days to complete. The actual wage is the amount being paid to scholars employed by Cedars-Sinai with similar experience and qualifications for that specific position in the particular department, laboratory, or center. The prevailing wage is the salary rate being paid in similar institutions in a particular metropolitan statistical area for the same occupation. If the employee’s salary is below the prevailing wage (or actual wage whichever is higher) the employee/VISA office cannot continue with the H-1B application.
Finally it is important to note that prevailing wages can change significantly year-to-year, and new DOL data are released annually on July 1st.
Once the VISA office has determined that the H-1B worker will be paid at least the actual wage level or the prevailing wage level, whichever is higher, and that CSMC is therefore in compliance with DOL regulations, we can proceed with the H-1B petition.