Wage-boost rule: A controversial boost to minimum required wages for foreign workers on the H-1B visa will be postponed until 2023, according to a new proposed rule from the government of President Joe Biden.
The lengthy delay comes on the heels of a Biden government move simply seven days before imposing a shorter delay in implementing a new wage scheme for the visa. That proposal set July 1 as the date for new, higher wage levels to begin phasing in. The most recent plan, not yet finalized by the U.S. Division of Labor, would see phase-in begin 1st Jan 2023.
“President Biden claims that he is pro-worker,” said Ron Hira, a Howard University professor who studies the H-1B. “This action is anti-worker.”
The H-1B, planned for jobs requiring specialized skills, is widely utilized as a way to a green card. Silicon Valley’s technology giants depend heavily on the visa and push to extend the 85,000 yearly caps on new H-1Bs.
If the delay of the rule is finished, the current wage requirements. Which have been unchanged for 25 years, will stay in place until 2023. Workers on the H-1B at the lowest pay level presently should get the 17th percentile of the prevailing wage for their work type and area. While workers at the highest of the four levels should get the 67th percentile.
The Labor Department estimates that delaying the pay increase until 2023 would cost workers, and save employers. $416 million in wages this year and $2.4 billion next year. Also, the phase-in of higher wage requirements is delayed, and the visas are valid for three years. The wage cost for workers and savings for employers over 10 years is estimated by the agency to be about $30 billion.
The wage-boost rule for foreign workers
The wage-boost rule is a carry-over from the government of previous President Donald Trump, which had proposed new pay levels. However, after losing a court battle including the Bay Area Council, whittled down. The planned increases to the levels the Biden government’s proposed rule for 2023 has adopted. Workers on the H-1B at the lowest wage level would need to get at least the 35th percentile of the prevailing wage for their job type and location. And workers at the highest wage level would have to receive the 90th percentile.
The NFAP, which supports extending the H-1B program past the 85,000 caps. Argued in a new report that the wage rule “still retains the goal of pricing out of the U.S. labor market employment-based immigrants and H-1B visa holders.”
Foreign workers requiring H-1B extensions “could discover an employer no longer able to retain them in the U.S”. Because of higher wage requirements, the group said.
The H-1B became a target for the Trump government, which dramatically increased denials of the visa among staffing and outsourcing organizations. The tech industry battles that the visa allows them to secure the world’s top talent and many H-1B workers receive higher-than-required salaries. However, critics point to abuses and maintain that companies, including the major tech firms. Use the H-1B to supplant U.S. workers, drive down wages and facilitate outsourcing.
The NFAP, in contradicting the wage rule, said. “Various studies and private wage reviews show high-skilled foreign nationals are paid same or higher than comparable U.S. professionals.”
“This option for H-1B wages implies that employers contract with private firms. To make their surveys to figure out what their H-1B workers should be paid,” the three wrote to the Labor Department. “Employers invest in a private wage survey only to pay their workers less.”