The prevailing wage is one that the Department of Labor (DOL) has determined to be appropriate for this particular position in your geographic location. It reduces the ability of employers to “low ball” their proposed wages to the detriment of their workers. It is defined as the hourly wage, overtime, and benefits that are paid to the majority of workers, laborers, and mechanics within a particular area. It is not to be used interchangeably with minimum wage.
The first step that must be completed in the PERM recruitment process is determining the wage that is appropriate for the position that must be filled. This is based on what is paid to the majority of workers in a particular position and varies based on location. The DOL maintains a calculator on their website to help you work out the prevailing wage. It must also be noted that any advertisement that is placed must not display a wage that is any lower than the prevailing wage.
Establishing a prevailing wage reduces the ability of employers to “low ball” their proposed wages to the detriment of their workers and United States citizens. The federal government uses these types of standards in an effort to avoid situations where employers might try to pay workers from overseas less than American citizens for the same job. These practices, checks and balances also help assure that American citizens have equal opportunity to obtain the position, while discouraging United States companies from being able to employ non-Americans for lower pay than American citizens.