What is the minimum "prevailing wage" for an H1B?

It depends on the type of job and the employee's worksite location.

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, etc.

We're 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 absolutely 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.”

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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:


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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). Select the “search wizard” option:

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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” in San Francisco County, California:

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The database will return a list of four wage levels for the particular occupation in that geographical location:

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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, $107,640 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, $183,310, depending on the details of your position.

It's important to remember that the required wage level is determined by the minimum requirements of the particular job offered, not by the qualifications of the employee.

If you would like to discuss wage levels or other H1B issues in more detail, please schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys here.