UPDATE on the Federalized Process for Obtaining PWD Requests

Posted On: March 26, 2010

Effective January 21, 2010, the Department of Labor's iCERT online system was updated to allow the submission of electronic prevailing wage determination requests. This electronic process was intended to allow Employers and/or their Designated Representatives to submit and obtain prevailing wage determinations (PWD) for use in the H-1B, H-1B1 (Chile/Singapore), H-1C, H-2B, E-3 (Australia), and permanent labor certification programs through the iCERT portal. However, at this time, this federalized electronic process has caused delays in the issuance of prevailing wage determinations.

Prior to January 1, 2010, the date of enactment of the Federalized Process, employers and/or their designated representative were able to obtain PWDs from their State Workforce Agencies (SWAs), which normally took between two (2) to fourteen (14) days or even a months time. Currently, requestors are waiting between thirty (30) to sixty (60) days to obtain a response from the DOL further delaying the commencement of a new PERM case, or the filing of an AC-21 Portability Case.

Requestors who have submitted PWD requests to the NPWHC by U.S. Mail between January 1, 2010 and January 21, 2010, the launch date of the iCERT PWD System have received a response in regards to their PWD requests. However, at this time, there appear to be delays in the issuance of PWDs through the national DOL office with both hard copy and electronically submitted requests since January 21, 2010.

According to many interactive blog posts by various Immigration Law Firms, the DOL has reportedly not acted on any requests submitted online. The DOL has been advised of this situation and the effect that it has upon the Employment Based Green Card (PERM) and H-1B programs, as obtaining a PWD is the starting point in the PERM process for most foreign workers.

The DOL has recently issued updated FAQs to assist employers and others. The FAQs provide that the Department will provide PWDs as quickly as possible, on a first in, first out order. They have advised that determination times will fluctuate as they work to centralize the process. Additionally, they recommend that requestors submit their prevailing wage requests at least 60 days in advance of the employers' initial recruitment efforts.

THE LATEST: Our office submitted an electronic PWD through the iCERT portal on March 8, 2010 and received the determination back on May 5, 2010. Clearly, PWDs are taking anywhere from 45-60 days to be issued by the DOL.

You may still submit hard copy PWD requests to the address listed below:
U.S. Department of Labor-ETA, National Prevailing Wage and Helpdesk Center,
Attn: PWD Request:
1341 G Street, NW
Suite 201
Washington, DC 20005-3142

Or, you may submit electronic PWD requests through the iCERT portal.

Please be aware of the current delays and plan accordingly!

MVP Law Group will continue to monitor the situation and will provide you with any information that becomes available.