Update on New Centralized Prevailing Wage Process

As we advised you in November and December, the Department of Labor (DOL) has centralized the prevailing wage determination (PWD) request process for the H-1B, E-3, and permanent labor certification programs as of January 1, 2010.    The prevailing wage determination is the first step of the H-1B, E-3, and permanent labor certification processes to determine the median wage of similarly situated workers within certain geographic areas, as determined by DOL.

DOL had initially stated that the process of obtaining a PWD from the DOL in Washington, DC, could take up to 30 days or more.  However, many new PWD requests are taking much longer.  Therefore, we have amended the OIP-ISSS Application Deadlines and Processing Times (see below).    Please understand that we do not have control over the government processing times and protocols. 

Hiring departments are advised to continue to submit H-1B requests to OIP-ISSS 6-7 months prior to the status expiration date/requested start of H-1B employment.   However,  effective immediately, the hiring department should submit the H-1B request to us no later than ***90 DAYS BEFORE*** the status expiration date/start of employment.   Please also allow additional time if the H-1B employee needs to obtain a visa overseas.  

If the request is not submitted to OIP-ISSS within the application deadline, we will continue to do our best but cannot guarantee that the H-1B request will be processed within the necessary time frame or for the requested time.  For our revised Application Deadlines and Processing Times, please visit http://www.upenn.edu/oip/isss/processing

Please also note that due to the unpredictability of the new system, we cannot guarantee that the Department of Labor will use the Standard Occupational Classification and wage level that we request when making the prevailing wage determination. This may result in prevailing wage determinations that are significantly higher than the offered salary. 

OIP-ISSS is working with our professional organizations to resolve the concerns over the new PWD process.   Should you have any questions, please contact OIP-ISSS (; 215-898-4661).