Check Out How Much Some H-1B Holders Earn


Ever wondered how much H-1B visa holders make? Now’s your chance to find out: San Francisco-based engineer Theo Negri has released a database of H-1B applications, searchable by company.

Whenever a firm based in the United States wants to bring in a worker via an H-1B visa, it must submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the U.S. government. Every LCA features the potential worker’s proposed salary; compile enough LCAs into a database, and you can get a pretty good idea of how much companies are shelling out to bring in H-1B workers.

Quartz combed through Negri’s LCA database and came up with a list of the average salaries for H-1B holders at a number of tech companies. Topping the list was Netflix, where the average H-1B holder could expect to earn $214,693 in 2014, followed by Box ($143,318), Etsy ($135,595), Twitter ($134,221), and Airbnb ($134,039).

Many of these firms are willing to pay above the industry average for H-1B talent. Earlier this year, for example, Netflix applied for a senior database platform engineer at a $250,000 annual salary, nearly $100,000 above the average wage for that position (according to Negri’s data). Based on the LCA database, Airbnb seems willing to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 above the average for data scientists, software engineers, and other H-1B holders.

Earlier this year, developer Swizec Teller crunched H-1B data from the U.S. Department of Labor and concluded that the average engineer with the visa makes $87,000 a year, while developers and programmers earn $74,000 and $61,000, respectively. His visualizations also suggested that the number of H-1B workers in the United States has increased over the past two years, even if their average salaries have dipped.

Declining salaries or not, Negri’s data suggests that some H-1B holders can expect some pretty lucrative paydays.

22 Responses to “Check Out How Much Some H-1B Holders Earn”

  1. Unfortunately, Managers and H.R. who do not understand Engineering have no way to tell a good engineer from a poor engineer, so they rely on stereotypes and charisma. There is a stereotype that Indians have high intelligence. As an engineer, I work with H1B workers every day. They are not smarter or better performers than U.S. Citizens. On average they are underperformers and it takes several of them to complete the job.

    The education system is corrupt in India, there is rampant cheating, and institutions graduate people in Diploma Mills. One company I worked at hired 180 people in one week, and the vast majority of them couldn’t complete simple assignments, and in fact do “negative work” in that they create problems that have to be fixed.

    They don’t fly on carpets and levitate due to higher intelligence. Corporate Shareholders are being shortchanged by these hiring practices.

  2. Actually that is [expletive]..Most companies prefer US Citizens than H1B.Due to lot of screw-ups done by the Body Shop organisations.
    This may be true before 3 years back ,not now.

  3. Scott M

    Honestly I really dislike the trend of taking foreign workers over local talent. Are they really trained that much better? And if so, why?

    Companies like Microsoft and others complain that local talent isn’t trained well enough or that there isn’t enough talent. BS. Maybe if they stopped paying H1-B holders so much they could invest some of that cash into local schools and universities to help change the curriculum to meet their requirements. Or, *gasp* how about on the job training?

    Just some food for thought.

  4. Prasad Joshi

    That is very selective data. I am in India. I assure you that majority of big Indian IT companies(TCS,Wipro,Infosys,HCL) pay in the range of 65K to 70K/year.Vast majority of Indian mid-size IT companies ask money(yes, they ASK money) $3000 to $4000 for visa payment. and they pay in the same range- 65K to 70K. Almost all Indian(and to some extent American companies co-founded by Indians) modify the resumes to suit client requirements.

  5. David

    American citizens are not willing to work as they just work for fun wherever (non)immigrants are hard workers and do twice the work a citizen would do. I have seen that all my over decade of experience. On the other hand there are body shops exploiting the innocent bright peoples. It is known fact that if you are hard working and not getting paid as much as you should have that means someone is gaining out of it. Anyway there is lot of exploitation of H1 workers in U.S.

  6. H1-B don’t make that much. These consulting companies who file for H1-B or the middle agents keep it if any company pay this much and the employee get only half like USD 60,000 without any or few benefits. Consulting company also keeps the overtime pay if any. H1-B is like modern age slavery if compared to what a citizen get for the same job. After tax cut we get $3600 a month. Reality on the ground.

  7. I agree with the above posters. Very selective and cherry picked data. Most H-1Bs are not world beaters and make nowhere near the salaries mentioned in this puff piece.

  8. Raikar

    I think the salaries shown are all from CA or west coast area, come to east, or south east area, michigan , georgia etc.. the average pay is from 60K- 85K , and some of the body shopping companies they sometimes even pay very less and even threaten the H1B candidates that if they complain they will send them back . WE cannot take a few numbers from top tech companies and say pays are very high, pay is good is what i say.

    And on the fact that H1B candidates are exceptionally talented!! NO I don’t think so!! we all are humans and have almost same average IQ and may be few H1B holders are exceptional but that holds true for people from any country. The only reason you see more H1B holders are successful is that , back in India many choose to take up engineering, software as career and they really work hard to get those qualifications and job ( system in not corrupt in that level , India has some of the finest tech schools).

    And why so many come here on H1B ? its just market need!! there is more need for people than we have here that’s all 🙂


  9. Marc Bennett

    Have been arguing about the H1B problem for many years and nothing is being done about it primarily because of business lobbies in Washington DC and immigration law lobbies also in Washington. Nothing is going to change so we are beating ourselves up for nothing. I’ve heard many other opinions that suggest anything we say is falling on deaf ears I now tend to believe that.

  10. dacpac

    Here’s the deal. Different companies have different payscales. Working for an indian IT vendor gets 60-80k. Working for Us based companies gets 100k+.
    Then the crap about us workers being smarter or vice versa – you dont get world beaters with every applicant. Theres a remarkable shortage of us talent locally and their willingness to relocate to work locations. The H1B fills that gap – salaries for us based companies dont change based on who joined the job -local or foreign workers. A position is a position and the best talent gets it.
    A 100k systems engineer position should be able to get enough local resumes of qualified people dont you think? The answer is not always yes. Take it from people who have been hiring and firing a lot – there is not enough local IT engineers to fill the slots.

  11. Holly Molly

    H1Bs have it far harder than citizens or Green card holders for that matter. I have seen several US Masters and PHDs on H1 that had to go back to their country after they were laid off given absolutely no benefits. Who is covering that story? Its about time we realized that H1s have to fight against all odds to get a job as they are disqualified based on sponsorship in most of the jobs.

  12. H1B holder

    H1B holders are like a football being hired for the contract positions for even 2 months offered by the consultancies. There is no other go irrespective if you are having family in any position like with small kids, pregnant wife,etc., just don’t care. If you want to care much about your family then there is a fear where consultancies ask us to go back to the country. If you have project then they pay you or else they don’t, this is a known fact. Also they modify the resume or ask us to modify according to the client requirements whatever the technology it is, you have to learn, work on it and satisfy the client with your performance.
    Most of the cases, this happens. H1B holders smile outside but will be tensed forever inside / cry even at tough times…….

  13. Janet

    The reality is that most of what everyone has said so far has some relevance, others more than some, but what is not being remembered is that the ineffectiveness rides on the aggregate of inefficiencies that pre-exist in government, business, and education across the board to serve as foundation for grass root development even in Silicon Valley. Add where there are gaps, opportunities have opened up and there are individuals from all backgrounds who are capable.

    What is not being remembered is the reason why some H1B visa holders are now finally being made more and that is actually due to corruption not on the side of india but on us based firms (and likely others) who not too long ago low ball, and I’m sure many do not just in India based IT firms but in US firms as well. The competition is fierce and the population and there is a perception that the pool consists of a certain “type” but that is simply untrue or visit any one of the up and coming start ups where you will find that “youth” even above gender has dominated and caused much undue disparity in the industry.

    But yes the trend is that many do come from india where many are groomed for these positions and to that end, many women in recent years who have broken a glass ceiling no doubt.

    So the question for me is why more women in the US who are citizens are not filling these positions?

  14. I’d like to have sympathy for the H1B holder but I just can’t. They take away jobs from Americans. I find it hard to believe that there just aren’t enough qualified Americans so companies have to hire H1B holders. I am currently working on a team where, out of 6 people, I am the only native born American. This is just another way that American companies have gotten away with not paying Americans what they worth. If Americans don’t have the skills then let’s get them the skills. This is definitely a program that should be ended.

    • Hello John,

      It’s all about money ….You must be getting 120k$+ and perks, but H1-B can be hired for as little as 65k$ with no perks….Instead of hiring an American which will normally demand 100k$+, these companies prefer H1-B on low salary..

  15. @ DacPac

    You claim “Theres a remarkable shortage of us talent locally and their willingness to relocate to work locations. The H1B fills that gap – salaries for us based companies dont change based on who joined the job -local or foreign workers. A position is a position and the best talent gets it.
    A 100k systems engineer position should be able to get enough local resumes of qualified people dont you think? The answer is not always yes. Take it from people who have been hiring and firing a lot – there is not enough local IT engineers to fill the slots.”

    Well that depends doesn’t it? Does the job require the engineer to live in an area where even a small house costs $1.2M or pay $5k/month in rent? Or will the engineer need to spend 2hrs+ each day to get to work? Will the job demand 80hrs a week? Does that $100k come with benefits or not?

    Or perhaps the problem is that employers aren’t looking hard enough, simply expecting the talent to do ALL the work of landing a job. Maybe employers are placing unrealistic demands on applicants (e.g. 3-5 years of experience in a type of software that has existed for only 6 months) or engaging in age discrimination. There are many reasons employers may have difficulties finding talent that has nothing to do with an actual talent shortage.

    How about this instead – if companies can’t get talent to come to them how about going to the talent? If ANY tech industry can be delocalized it’s software. If companies aren’t willing to let employees work from home then open secure satellite campuses where employees can work closer to home.

  16. I’m sorry there is such misunderstanding: the whole point of the H1b program was for the workers to RETURN to the country of origin – NOT remain indefinitely. In practice, I only know of a few (out of hundreds) who have returned to their country, trying instead to remain at any cost.

  17. karidrgn

    After 30 years of software development, converting from COBOL to Java and mainframe to web development and surviving the Dotcom burst, telecom burst, and the great recession here’s my take. You’re starting out, pick a career that you like and which shows job growth. But in spite of your degree companies won’t hire without job experience. Finally, someone takes a chance or you’ve scraped together enough to get in the door. You stay for a few years then the economy goes bust or the company changes and you’re out the door. Then you discover the skill sets have changed and you have to repeat the learning and startup process. And even if you have the skills you’re now competing against more experienced people for the same jobs cause now the markets flooded with experience. If you’re lucky you’ve saved enough until you get the next job. Rinse and repeat.

  18. karidrgn

    As for h1b’s and companies, companies state they need h1b’s cause they can’t find talent. Considering the expense of college, what intelligent person will risk going into massive debt when they have to compete with lower paid overseas talent? It’s not just h1b’s they have to compete with but overseas programmers who do the beginners type of jobs. Then there’s the meme that h1b’s work harder than local. Of course you’re going to work harder for less in order to ensure you don’t get fired because then you’ll have to return to your native country. And then when the economy goes south in order to pay the bills, people will leave the field and do something else. In order to fix this we need to start funding college education again like we used to do.