The Prevailing Wage Rate is defined as the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in the requested occupation in the area of intended employment. This wage rate is usually obtained by contacting the State Workforce Agency (SWA) having jurisdiction over the geographic area of intended employment or from other legitimate sources of information, such as the Online Wage Library.

In complying with the statute of Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the department's regulations require the wages offered to a foreign worker must be the prevailing wage rate for the occupational classification in the area of employment or higher.

The Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides wage data collected under the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program for use in the Foreign Labor Certification process since 1998. This data is available on the Foreign Labor Certification's Online Wage Library (OWL) on the U.S. DOL Website.

The implementation of the H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004 and the publication of the PERM regulation on December 27, 2004 have changed the prevailing wage determination process for the Permanent, H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, and H-2B programs. The Prevailing Wage Determination Policy Guidance for Nonagricultural Immigration Programs summarizes these changes and provides the step-by-step procedure for selecting the appropriate wage level for prevailing wage purposes. The following section provides responses to frequently asked questions regarding the implementation of the policy guidance.

For ACWIA prevailing wage, documentation is needed before determination. If the job is unionized and covered by a negotiated wage, send documentation of negotiated wage and do not complete the request form. The rate is valid for filing application and attestations for least 90 days and not more than a year from the date of the determination.

To obtain the necessary prevailing wage forms & instructions, go to Forms. All items need to be completed on all forms. Once the FLC Unit has received the prevailing wage form, the form will be reviewed, processed with all pertinent information by the SWA. This form will be the prevailing wage determination and it will be sent back to the requestor. A deficiency/correction letter will be sent out if any corrections need to be made. Retain these documents for your records!


H-2B Program
The time frame to process prevailing wage for H-2B program is within 30 days.
Dates of Need on and after October 1, 2009 for the H-2B program will be submitted and processed by the Chicago National Processing Center using the form ETA 9141.


PERM & H-1B Programs
The time frame to process prevailing wage requests is 14 business days for PERM & H-1B Programs.
On and after January 1, 2010, Chicago National Processing Center will receive and issue the prevailing wage using the form ETA 9141 for all foreign labor certification programs in accordance with the new regulations.

All items need to be completed on the Prevailing Wage Request Form and H-2B Prevailing Wage Form for Determination to be made. Print and retain the form for your records.


Division of Employment & Training