Determining which job category and wage level are appropriate for an H1B case depends on a number of factors, including job duties, seniority of the position, company size, unusual skills required, current USCIS RFE trends, etc. I’m providing the following description of how to find a prevailing wage for a particular job category and geographical location for general informational purposes only. Hopefully this will give you the tools needed to get a rough idea of the range of wages that might be required for a particular position, but you still need to consult with an attorney for advice on the optimal category and wage level for your position.
Let’s get started!
The first step is to determine what general category your job falls into. You can find the possibilities in the Department of Labor’s O*Net database, which allows you to browse by industry, or search by keyword. Here, I’ve started a search with the keyword “software.”
Your search will return a list of options. Here’s what came back from my keyword search:
Click on a few jobs in the list to see the detailed job description to determine which is the best fit for your job. For H1B applications, focus on the job duties as opposed to the job title. Because internal job titles for similar positions vary from company to company, USCIS will be more interested in the job description. For my search, I decided that “Software Developer, Applications” was the closest match for my job:
Now that we’ve selected a job category, we’re ready to find out what the minimum H1B wage is using the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center (FLCD). I recommend you select the “search wizard” option available in the upper left corner:
The search wizard will prompt you to enter the state and county where your worksite is located, and then select your job category from a drop-down list. Here, I’ll select “Software Developer, Applications” in San Francisco County, California:
The database will return a list of four wage levels for the particular occupation in that geographical location:
If you are a software developer working in San Francisco, the absolute lowest you could be possibly paid while working on an H1B is level 1, $82,930 per year. This would be for an entry-level position requiring a bachelor’s degree but little to no experience. If the position you are offered is a more senior role requiring advanced education, special skills, or extensive experience, your minimum wage could rise as high as level 4, $142,168, depending on the details of your position.
In my next two posts, I’ll be discussing how to determine which of the 4 wage levels applies to your position, as well as the infamous wage level 1 controversy of the 2017 cap season.
If you have general questions on this topic, please leave a comment on this post and I will try to respond. Please note that I cannot respond to questions regarding the specific facts of your case on this blog. For specific case questions, please schedule a consultation.