USCIS approves new prevailing wage rates

The US Citizenship and Immigration Service has approved the new H-2B prevailing wage rates for common construction occupations.

The new rates, which takes effect in December 2021, will only affect new applications filed with the Guam Department of Labor on or after Dec. 13, 2019, according to the governor’s office.

Rates for current approvals remain at the old rates until the valid labor certification expires.

“We continue to face a labor shortage even as the demand for construction projects continues to rise. I am pleased that the prevailing wage rates were approved for common construction jobs,” Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said.

“We have placed more than 1,000 people in skilled apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs since the start of this Administration because we know that skilled labor is a passport to economic success for Guam’s working families.”

The three most common H-2B occupations for which H-2B workers are imported saw modest increases in the wage rates. Carpenters and reinforcing metalworkers saw about a 6 percent increase and cement mason rates were increased by about 4.5 percent.

Under the new rates, welders, electricians, HVAC mechanics and construction equipment mechanics all command wages in excess of $18 per hour when working alongside H-2B guest workers.

Similarly, U.S. workers employed in the same companies and occupations as H-2B workers will see pay increases as new or extended workers get certified under the new rates later next year.

The new rate were approved through a biennial process using Guam data gathered from the USDOL OES Survey.

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