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New Online Prevailing Wage System for PERM and H-1B

Joe Jian Zhou, Attorney at Law (

The Department of Labor (DOL) announced on January 14, 2010 that a new online prevailing wage system for PERM and H-1B will be launched January 21, 2010. This is a big change in DOL’s practice regarding the prevailing wage determination system. For the past decade, prevailing wage determination for PERM and H-1B has been performed by a state agent. Employers who request a determination for a prevailing wage need to file an application with the state wage agent when a position is offered. Under the PERM system, a prevailing wage determination must be received prior to filing the PERM labor certification, the first step in an employment sponsored immigration petition. DOL began this new centralized system on January 1st, but it has only been available through paper filing for the first couple of weeks. The new online prevailing wage system will be incorporated into the existing iCert system that DOL currently uses to handle Labor Condition Applications for H-1B petitions.

The newly updated iCert system will have several upgraded features. Once logging into iCert, a user will immediately be able to see case activity and the status and decision passed on the last ten applications submitted. Now, users will be able to electronically file and manage Form 9141 in a similar fashion to LCA Form 9035. If a user does not finish an application in one sitting, he/she can save the application and return to it later. Users can also withdraw submitted applications or delete unfinished ones. In addition, a user can reuse information from an old application for a new one. Via the upgraded system, printable forms and other instructions are now directly accessible from the prevailing wage application. On applications that have received decisions, users can also electronically request a Redetermination Review. Finally, the new system will accord much more control over sub-accounts, allowing users to block or grant access to the prevailing wage feature.

There are many benefits to the new iCert system. For one, this is a centralized federal system. In the past, there were variations in practice and standards from state to state. Often times, this made it extremely difficult to predict prevailing wages by geographical location for a specific occupation. Through centralization, the new prevailing wage system will be subject to more universal standards; in addition, it will be more reliable, easier to follow up on, and much more predictable regarding cases for any position around the nation.

The technical issues regarding this new system are still unknown. However, we welcome the new iCert system with much anticipation and are excited about the improved features it offers.

With this new step, PERM application processing will be fully online-based. If the system works properly, it will certainly reduce paperwork and increase efficiency.

Zhang & Associates, P.C. has extensive expertise in PERM labor certification. If you have any questions regarding PERM issues, please feel free to contact our PERM team leader, Attorney Jian Joe Zhou at

Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients nationwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled thousands of immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, and I-485 cases. In the past fourteen years, we have successfully helped thousands of clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang ( for a free evaluation.

Zhang & Associates, PC.

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Tel: 1-800-230-7040, 713-771-8433


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