Which States and Cities are Using the Most H-1B Visas?

Which states and cities are leveraging the most H-1B visas?

According to an analysis by the Pew Research Center, New York City racked up the most H-1B visa approvals between 2010 and 2016, with 29 percent of the total, followed by the Dallas and Washington, D.C. metro areas, then Boston.

But the city with the greatest concentration of H-1B approvals wasn’t New York City, Seattle, or even Boston—it was College Station, Texas, with 32 visas approved for every 100 workers. (Some 99 percent of those went to Cognizant, which is headquartered in College Station.) By contrast, even a tech-heavy city like San Jose had no more than two approvals per 100 workers:

Overall, the U.S. government approved 859,600 H-1B applications during that six-year period. “Nationwide, foreign workers approved for H-1B visas earned an average of $80,600 in fiscal 2010-2016,” Pew added in its report. “Bridgeport, Connecticut, had the highest average salary ($100,200) of any metro area, followed by Seattle ($98,100) and Phoenix ($97,100).” (In College Station, the average salary stood at $82,600.)

Ever since President Trump took office, the tech industry has expected his administration to engage in sweeping H-1B visa reform. And so far, that hasn’t happened, although he did order the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, and State to all review H-1B policy with an eye toward revamping it. Attempts to address H-1B from the Congressional side have largely stalled, with various bills mired in committees.

In lieu of big reform, the Trump administration has engaged in some piecemeal actions, including a measure that prevents the spouses of H-1B visa holders from obtaining the H-4 visas that would allow them to work in the United States. Six members of Congress from California have signed a letter asking the Department of Homeland Security to revisit that decision, suggesting that curtailing H-4 visa holders would “create significant uncertainty and financial hardship for many highly skilled professionals who are vital to our economy.”

In the meantime, at least according to Pew’s data, the pattern of H-1B approvals seems to largely align with what you’d expect: major tech hubs such as Silicon Valley, Boston, and New York City have the highest concentrations, aside from a few “hot spots” such as College Station and Durham-Chapel Hill (in North Carolina). But in most of those areas, H-1B workers only make up a small fraction of total employees.

36 Responses to “Which States and Cities are Using the Most H-1B Visas?”

  1. This should be interesting: another blog posting about the H1B situation.

    Quote: “But in most of those areas, H-1B workers only make up a small fraction of total employees.”

    Probably an apples-to-oranges comparison. Assuming (yes, I know) these H-1B workers are IT-workers, then the comparison to total employees needs to be a comparison to the total IT employees.

    • So true and the IT Industry already has hundreds of thousands of vacant positions across USA that requires US citizenship. Trump must first work in giving IT training to the local citizens for those open jobs. Later then focus on H1b folks where these tech workers are already screened, highly educated and bring more tech experience. Pay tax properly much more than the average Americans

  2. John Connor

    Dear Developers, be aware of the following:

    – Why we need to work for short terms? (Internal company workers can do the changes, ask them to take the risk!)

    – Why we need to pass strong tests and interviews for short terms? (other fields just some interviews are required)

    – If you argue the last statement and if you want a Rockstar developer, then PAY MORE! (have you noticed the same rate for everybody? Thanks to H1B)

    – Why to work for some companies that do not offer benefits? (We do the hard work and they just enjoy the life!)

    – Why allow middle man to take your resume and apply for you on those states? (Do it yourself and put those lazy recruiters to work hard like you! they are H1B, supposed to work on Technology NOT like Human Resources!)

    – Why to accept they pay you for your work after 30 or 45 days? (We are the most valuable assets in the projects! so, pay me on time H1B SPONSOR!)

  3. Rob Robinson

    As this article states, that it constantly stalls in Congress, well… that’s all it has been doing for many years. US companies want it to stall and so does business lobbies, immigration law lobbies, offshore companies in India and other special interest groups that want to screw American IT pros out of their jobs.

    We’re losing our technical edge, or perhaps I should say, we’ve lost our technical edge. Just gave it away. All for… guess what… the money!! What a surprise!! I say that in tongue and cheek fashion, but there is a horrible reality as well.

    American IT professionals suffer by experiencing deep cuts in hourly rates if you’re independent consultants and displacement / replacement if you’re an employee. It truly is a very major slap in the face.

    Nothing is going to change this. Two things can influence change though;

    1. President Trump makes a sweeping command decision to change or stop completely the H1b AND L1 visa programs.

    2. Tech workers march on Washington DC to show we’re in solidarity.

    3. Insist our Congressmen and Congresswomen get more involved to massively curb the visa programs, vote them out.

    4. I recommend 1 and 2 above, because these will be most immediate to effect change. Point 3 will be far too slow and simply stall.

    That’s my advice. Like everyone else who voices their opinions, especially Americans, this will fall on deaf ears.

    A march on Washington DC would be a great idea to get our government to listen to us. I wonder how many would show up. WE DO NEED TO STOP THESE ABUSIVE VISA PROGRAMS!!

      • Looking at the incorrect use of “tell” instead of “say”, and the odd space in front of your commas, you are one of those H1 visa holders, OpenMinded. If that’s how you do your “technology work”, I’d rather it remains undone 😉

        • English has nothing to do with Technology. If you are interested in correcting grammar, why don’t you apply for a teacher? Also, English is a second language for many other nationalities. They have worked hard and struggled a lot to achieve this. Improve your skills and fight back instead of crying and lamenting,.

          • Dee, what you are saying is very far from the truth. English is a second language to me, too, yet I’ve invested the time to perfect my command of it. I did work as a teacher, yes, and as a journalist, too, and for the last 20+ years I’ve been working as a UI software engineer and tech lead. I have worked harder than the people you mentioned, because nobody hired me on an H1-B. I had to work my way up by myself. Believe me when I tell you – English is the most important first language for a future programmer. Good luck 🙂

          • Commenting on people’s grammar is very rude. I hope you were not this rude to your students for 20+ years. So you are also an immigrant, just you got lucky as your parents came here and you never struggled for green card. I hope you see the struggle that immigrants have nowadays. But you will not understand because this world is too selfish to care for other. I.. Me… Myself… is the new motto. People cry because they don’t want to work hard and are scared to compete with sharp minds

      • Paul Bevillard

        I am sure your ability to do good work is as impeccable as your grammar. So, for those who do know how to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’, figuratively and literally speaking, you are in no position to choose who works and who doesn’t.
        America first and you sir can crawl back into the hole you came from.

    • AdvTech

      … and a big class action law suite will be needed to help compensate lost houses, broken career growths and families, unpaid student loans for IT education. Federal and State governments lost billions on helping middle class to retain their homes, on unemployment payments, while outsourcing made billions on making other countries rich and picking on US. Young generation got distracted on learning programming languages, while young people in other countries prosper on gaining IT skills. USA is a motherland of all IT inventions, falling behind in supplying our own IT professionals. Global economy turn into chaos and abuse of all possible ways to make money…

  4. People continue to think the H1-b visas are going only to IT workers. That is not true. The visa is intended for those in “specialty occupations”, as the regulations call them. This means that people in other areas like engineering, biotech research and development, and so on also fall into this category. Yes, there have been misuses of this visa by some companies, but that’s not an argument for abolishing it entirely. Better enforcement of the existing regulations would be the better direction to take. And as much as some people insist on claiming otherwise, this country does have a shortage of qualified people in many specialty occupations, and until we start graduating a lot more people in STEM fields, that will continue to be the case.

    • Paul Bevillard

      There are plenty of people graduating with STEM degrees Tom. I have read forums where STEM graduates were still waiting for a job in such fields you mentioned and losing hope. Companies are holding out for that ‘best’ candidate instead of taking a new graduate under their wings and training them. They can afford to do so.

    • My company has got a ton of engineering H1Bs from an outsourced engineering firm from India and they handle most of the company product packaging design work. Our IT isn’t as filled as most companies IT is as that group is still local talent. And the software Engineering group is also all local talent people but with 1/2 outsourced development work to some other outfits not using H1Bs.
      There’s plenty ‘local’ talent for engineering and regular IT. They just keep getting shoved aside for barely trained outsourced talent.
      Case in point – Manpower, staffing company. They moved their IT services to IBM years ago, then later started outsourcing the IT staff. First operation level folks, then going up the talent chain. Now Manpower’s only internal IT is the CIO and 5 direct reports with 2 being administrative assistant types. Every thing else is gone outright and IT processes are so slow they are costing the other business units time and delays (which == $$)
      All these offshore outsourcing companies push that you can use ITIL to map out your processes so that anyone with the basic technical skill can fill a role as needed. Reality is when it comes to making to use the skills and knowledge to deal with exceptions to the process, they can’t do it without getting everyone involved to develop some new process which helps provide cover for the lack of understanding about the current task and their inability with the exception and unwillingness to take any ownership to solve the problem. Those workers lack any skin in the game to even attempt to solve a 1 off exception issue and they generally will get burned if they do attempt to do something and they make a mistake.

  5. These “hot spots” are used by the mom and pops recruitment agencies (mostly Indians) that converts students visa into H1B – they charge $$$$ for the candidates, let them undergo a boot camp on the tech and they deploy them into the clients without knowing their true skills and educational background which mostly are faked. Even until now, this practices is ver rampant having an unskilled worker deployed into a project and will end up fired or replaced after 2-3months. They are taking advantage of the loophole. No verifications or audit after the H1B visa is issued.

  6. Outsourcing Victim

    I was in an H1 B visa for several years and I was laid off when the company started sending jobs to India and Philippines. When I started at the job I was the only H1 B worker out of 12 developers. 3 years later, there are 12 Devs in India and 6 in Manilla and only 3 in the US. Costs have gone down by 60%. I guess you can’t blame the H1 B for this. Guess who developing their technical skills more and retaining workers. Well so far it’s India and Philippines. To add insult to injury, the tech company made money from US tax payers. I am now in Canada. I have taken my US skills, education, and experience from working in US companies and universities to Canada.

    • I think the offshoring of tech jobs is a bigger problem than the H1B visa issue. The H1B program needs to be policed a bit better, but the offshoring of tech jobs is a far greater problem in my opinion. That has happened to me twice in the last few years.

  7. In free enterprise money controls, if the need for a skill is not being filled and there is a resource outside the system, then the basic problem is within the system. America has changed from a producer to a consumer. Parents worked and kids consumed. Children grew into parents without understanding the relationship of these responsibilities. The lack of understanding of responsible positions is in all aspects of our lives. How these interact with our daily lives would require a lifetime of teaching and understanding that the majority of Americans no longer possess. We want the education system to do the training/babysitting but the teachers come as children into the system just as do all others. The job is not for the system so much is it the individual (each one of us). It is not the school as much as it is the lack of family structure and instruction in being responsible for their actions. There will always be another in line willing to take your spot and usually for less compensation. When you’re on the playground, you can not expect mama to come running to the school every time you cry bully.

    • Johnny Rotten

      I have been in IT for 30+ years. The problem all started when CIOs got their pockets lined by Indian companies by being on their board of directors and making a fortune. We were forced to hire programmers offshore who had no experience, and very little skills. It would take time of an onshore programmer to fix all the code that came back so it would actually work. This made the offshore look good and cheap, and the onshore programmer slow, because he wasn’t getting his work done. Then India started making money, and using those US dollars to fund training programs for their own people. As you say, over an entire generation, they were training their people with OUR money. US policies reward sending our money offshore instead of investing in our own country, but it only hurts us all, in the long run.

      • AdvTech

        Very True! All elite jobs are taken over by Indians, because of that. IT departments do not care about diversity. HR, hiring managers forgot what does it mean for the company…

  8. As per usual and always. ALL the really serious problems in the country are caused by the U.S. Congress (and to a somewhat lesser extent) State legislatures. Who is responsible for the Southern Border remaining wide open? Who is responsible for a reported 10-20 trillion national debt? Who is responsible for resettling hundreds of thousands of functional illiterate unvetted “refugees” into peaceful American cities? Who is responsible for the destruction of the Educational system via the Department of Mis-Education? Who is responsible for these cons, scams and swindles on the American Citizen such as H1-B? The list is unfortunately endless.

    That being said we need to take the long road. The long road is to vote EVERY incumbent out of office every election. Yes we may throw a few babies out with the bath water but eventually they might get it that the American Citizens have just about had their fill of the massive corruption infecting government at all levels. Think about it. John McCain and many of these other politicos has been in office what – forever? See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_members_of_the_United_States_Congress_by_longevity_of_service
    for a complete list. It is pretty disgusting. Politics corrupts and longevity in Washington D.C. corrupts absolutely.

    Of course with 50+ percent of the people in the country with their snout slopping out of the public trough, accumulating enough voters to vote these miscreants out of office – for good, might be difficult, but in reality it is the only long term cure.

    The only way to stop this massive criminal enterprise known as the Federal Government is to stop voting for criminals!


  9. And in addition …

    “Trump must first work in giving IT training to the local citizens for those open jobs”. Why Trump? Why not Clinton? Bush? Obama? Why not you? At last glance across the horizon, Colleges, Universities and online courses(Which are VERY inexpensive) are available to any and all who are interested in obtaining technical skills in the desired areas. For example you can get a very good, complete online Java course for less than $50.00. Also by the way American Indian Studies, Art History, Sports Medicine and Ancient Egyptian Culture degrees are not going to cut it in the High Tech World in which we find ourselves.


    • I’m US Citizen and I’m getting difficult situation for the couple of months to get a job. These lukewarm indian recruiting companies are killing the job market and billing rates. Also exploiting the H-1B workers

    • AdvTech

      using Trump’ approach – and let India pay for the training?
      I would take it!

      Actually Oracle offers very good documentation on Java. You will really like it.
      The only problem is – who will hire a pro with ten years gap in corporate IT?
      I convinced myself to staying happy as a solo, even being a team player worked better for the company and for my career growth. I just loved working in a team. Now if you are not from India or China – getting IT job is a risk.

      Now, please be seated, so you won’t fall;
      I used to manage and support statistical applications and statistical programmers in global environment. Once I received a request for tech support from Senior SAS Programmer, who was wondering how to turn on Log window in SAS. How did this SR SAS professional passed an interview?
      Almost any guess that involves corrupted hiring manager will be correct…
      and this job paid over 90k plus benefits, 401k, pension plan, etc.
      I lost my job to outsourcing, but this SR SAS professional stayed.

  10. I’ve had lots of first hand experience with these so-called great IT workers on H1B visa. Very few have the skills needed to do the jobs they are asked to do. In other words, they are hired under different justification and then asked to do other things at bargain rates. One would think that companies want stellar performers vs people to occupy office space. Unfortunately, that’s not what I’ve experienced at all. American Express is one of the biggest offenders in New York and Phoenix.

  11. Let’s face it, folks – the IT job market in America is DEAD, unless you’re an H-1B worker sponsored by some large anti-American company. I’m a U.S. citizen with over 21 years IT experience, most recently in Windows system administration. I had to take some years off to care for my elderly mother who has senile dementia, and now, because of the gap in my resume’s work experience, and probably also due to my age, no companies will even give me the time of day. I’ve sent hundreds of resumes, and got only one interview, but no job offer.

    My resume is on all of the major job boards, but I’ve noticed that the only recruiter emails and calls I’ve gotten are from Indians who can barely speak English. Most of the positions they’ve contacted me about have been way too far away, usually in other states. But for the positions that were relatively close, I’ve expressed my interest in them, but never heard back from these Indian recruiters. I found this very strange, until I read somewhere that it’s the law that companies must make an “attempt” to hire a U.S. citizen before using an H-1B visa holder to fill that position. So, these Indian recruiters have been contacting me due to my being out of the IT job market a long time, knowing that most companies don’t want to hire anyone without recent experience, and they’ve mainly been contacting me about positions that are in different states. And as mentioned, for the positions that were relatively close, which I expressed interest in, they’ve never gotten back to me. So, these Indian recruiters are clearly running a scam, trying to give the appearance that they’re attempting to contact U.S. citizens first as required by law, although they’re really just trying to fill those positions with Indian H-1B holders.

    Along with massive IT outsourcing that has been going on since at least 2003, these H-1B abuses have killed the IT job market in America. I keep reading in the mass media how the IT job market is booming, and IT unemployment is very low, but this is clearly just propaganda, designed to hide the fact that outsourcing and H-1B abuse has decimated the IT job market in America. I think that most of the IT positions listed on the various job boards are not even real positions – probably just headhunting firms trolling for resumes. You send your resume to these positions, and you might as well be sending it into a black hole – it’s a complete waste of time, and no one ever responds. What a “great country” we live in, where foreigners have more rights and better job prospects than U.S. citizens.

    • Most of the Indian nationals who are waiting for Green Card approval will have wait for 70 years or more! Now they are disparately lobbying this in the Capitol Hill to find another loophole in the DACA program. I’ve seen new hires that are lead by an Indian national, they pick and choose their own and they are unproductive.. been sitting for hours taking breaks at the pantry and keeps on talking over the mobile phone speaking in their foreign language. They probably just looking forward of milking their project billings in the next two weeks but trying to prolong the projects as much as possible so that they can continue milking on the projects and ironically these are state projects, yes the government uses the peoples money to pay them without even completing a single deliverable of the project in a year. If you oversee these kind of projects in your companies, with 2-3 months of no
      progress – it has to be stopped immediately so that your company can save a lot of money hoping that they can deliver. Waste of time and keep on promising. Very unprofessional.

  12. My old classmates Citizen families’s kids has graduated from University for three years, but still looking for JOB now. Who cared about them!
    HB1 Guys they have best support from out sources and they could get advances first from the competitions. We have almost 100k Under graduated S from these years in NYC/JCT area, But HB1 all takes advanced!
    How do you think?

  13. The U.S. government approved 859,600 H-1B applications during 2010-2016. That’s almost 1 Million jobs that could most certainly have been filled by American workers and Green Card holders who do not require costly H-1B’s to fill a position. That’s a lot of CS grads who could have worked in the computing industry instead of in retail or in the service industry…

  14. First, the H4 visa ability to work should NEVER have been allowed by Obama. There is NO DEMONSTRATED LABOR NEED for the families of H1b visa holders to take jobs in the US. The USCIS comments for the change in H4 ability to work has the H4 and H1b visa holders boasting that they could be ‘2-for-1″ deals for employers and that the H4 could be easily included in the same workplace as their H1b spouse.
    Just exactly how is that good for American workers?
    Second, consider the CUMULATIVE effect of these visas – sure 2 per 100 workers per year but over time with extensions and overstays (yes, we darn well deserve a modern, effective visa tracking system!!!) that becomes well over 10%. This is madness. Might as well call it colonization. This is NOT good for American workers.

    • Most of the situations when the H4 Dependents and H1B will be out of project or under bench pay or out of status. They find another loophole to let the H1/H4 converts into student visa – watch out for this pattern.