- November 13, 2020
- Posted by: Fakhoury Global Immigration
- Category: Firm News
Lawsuit Challenges New DOL Prevailing Wage Rule for H-1Bs; Other Lawsuits to Follow
A lawsuit filed October 16, 2020, by a group of technology consulting firms, ITServe Alliance Inc. et al. v. Scalia et al., is challenging the Department of Labor’s (DOL) interim final rule on prevailing wages for H-1B workers. The plaintiffs argue that DOL “dramatically altered the manner in which it calculates prevailing wage rates for the H-1B program” and made the prevailing wage rates “exponentially higher” without prior notice or an opportunity to comment.
They also argue that the new wage rates are “set under a novel standard that conflicts with the governing statutory criteria” and are “arbitrary and capricious because the agency relied on outdated, incorrect, or limited empirical data, failed to consider readily available, relevant data and empirical studies, and engaged in reasoning that conflicts with basic economic theory.”
The plaintiffs seek a preliminary and permanent injunction to stop DOL from imposing the new wage rates, which they say will “upend” their businesses. Several other lawsuits challenging the DOL rule and a related rule from the Department of Homeland Security on specialty occupations and the employer-employee relationship are expected to be filed the week of October 19.
Details: “Lawsuit Challenging H-1B Wage Increase Filed in the U.S.,” Economic Times, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/nri/visa-and-immigration/lawsuit-challenging-h-1b-wage-increase-filed-in-the-us/articleshow/78715971.cms; “Tech Consultants File First Challenge to H-1B Wage Hikes,” Law360, https://www.law360.com/articles/1320509/tech-consultants-file-first-challenge-to-h-1b-wage-hikes (available by registration); DOL interim final rule, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-10-08/pdf/2020-22132.pdf; DHS interim final rule, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-10-08/pdf/2020-22347.pdf
USCIS Increases Premium Processing Fees
Effective October 19, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is increasing fees for premium processing as required by the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, which was part of the Continuing Appropriations Act signed into law on October 1. The new law requires USCIS to establish and collect additional premium processing fees, and to use those additional funds for expanded purposes.
The fee for premium processing will increase from $1,440 to $2,500 for all filings except those from petitioners filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting H-2B or R-1 nonimmigrant status. The premium processing fee for those petitioners is increasing from $1,440 to $1,500.
Any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, postmarked on or after October 19, 2020, must include the new fee amount. For filings sent by commercial courier (such as UPS, FedEx, or DHL), the postmark date is the date reflected on the courier receipt.
USCIS said the new law also gives the agency the ability to expand premium processing to additional forms and benefit requests, but it is not yet taking that action. “Any expansion of premium processing to other forms will be implemented as provided in the legislation,” USCIS said.
Details: USCIS announcement, https://www.uscis.gov/i-129; Instructions on premium processing, USCIS, https://www.uscis.gov/forms/all-forms/how-do-i-request-premium-processing Continuing Appropriations Act, https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/8337/text#H59AB3AEBE3FA47A2948DFC6C42C218C1
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