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DC Federal District Court Strikes Down DOL Wage Regulation, Orders Reissuance of Prevailing Wage Determinations

A federal district court in the District of Columbia set aside a fast-track Department of Labor regulation that significantly restructured the prevailing wage system for the H-1B, E-3 and H-1B1 nonimmigrant programs and PERM labor certification. The district court is the third to rule against the regulation in recent weeks.

The decision comes in a pair of consolidated lawsuits filed by universities and business groups challenging the Department of Labor’s October 8, 2020 release of an interim final regulation (IFR) that resulted in significantly higher government prevailing wage minimums for foreign professional workers.  As an IFR, the rule took effect before public comments were considered. DOL justified expedited review and implementation of the rules on the grounds that expedited implementation was necessary to support U.S. workers amid the economic impact of the COVID-19 emergency. The court rejected DOL’s rationale, finding that it did not have good cause to bypass public notice and comment, thus violating the Administrative Procedures Act. The cases are Purdue University v. Scalia and Stellar IT, Inc. v. Scalia.

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