H-1B visa holders are well paid

New research suggests that people moving to America on H-1B visas are better paid than many of their American counterparts.

A Pew Research Centre analysis of new US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data suggests that US employers planned to pay high-skilled foreign workers on H-1B visas a median salary of us$80,000 a year in fiscal year 2016. This compares favourably to the US$69,000 H-1B visa holders were paid on average a decade ago.

It also compares favourably to what some US workers are paid to do similar jobs. For example, US workers in computer and mathematical occupations had a median salary of US$75,036 in 2016, according to US Bureau of Labour Statistics data on all US workers. The majority (60 per cent) of all H-1B applicants between 2007 and 2016 were seeking employment in computer and mathematical occupations.

The latest USCIS data show that overall demand for H-1B visas has increased sharply over the past decade. The number of total H-1B visa applications filed by employers on behalf of foreign workers increased from 246,126 in 2009 to 399,349 in 2016.

Information technology and other business services firm, Cogniziant Tech Solutions, had the most H-1B petitions approved in 2016 (21,459). The average salary for these workers was US$84303. The highest average annual salary, by company, was paid by Facebook, who paid their 1,107 H-1B visa holders an average of US$140,758 a year.

The H-1B visa program is the primary way employers in the US hire high-skilled foreign workers. The program allows employers to hire foreigners to work for up to six years in jobs that require highly specialised knowledge.

Article published 17th August 2017