12 Cities Where H-1B Salaries, Employers are Highest

Which cities feature the most companies filing H-1B applications, and how much are those H-1B workers actually earning? As you might expect, New York City and Silicon Valley (including San Francisco) pulled in a massive amount of H-1B workers (and paid quite a bit to do so), but other cities across the country also posted big numbers.

At first glance, New York City leads the pack, with 7,430 employers for H-1B workers last year. However, if we combine San Francisco with the various Silicon Valley metro areas (San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View), then the Bay Area leads with 12,435. None of that is unexpected; Silicon Valley and “Silicon Alley” both feature hundreds of companies applying for H-1B workers on a regular basis. Check out the rest of the list:

First, one caveat before we further break down cities: Although much of the discussion around the H-1B visa focuses on the tech industry, it’s actually medical jobs that rack up the highest H-1B salaries, at least according to Department of Labor data crunched by the H1B Salary Database.

For example, interventional cardiologists on the H-1B visa make an average salary of $423,052 (there were 266 filings for that position in 2019) while H-1B gastroenterologists pull down $403,504 (267 filings last year); by contrast, computer and information systems managers—the top tech job on the H-1B salary list—pull down “only” an average of $189,682, from 123 filings. So while tech certainly has an influence on these numbers, it’s not the whole story.

In any case, Silicon Valley cities are paying the highest H-1B salaries, on average, with Mountain View (home of Google) leading that particular pack. Outside of California cities and Seattle, New York City is the only city that manages to break the six-figure salary mark in this listing.

Among the rest of the cities on the list, Texas is particularly well-represented—no surprise, given the number of business-services and consulting companies with offices in the state, along with tech firms. Atlanta, Chicago, and Seattle also place, thanks in large part to their size and diverse mix of companies.

It’s worth comparing these cities to the average H-1B salary, which is $89,779. We crunched that particular number via an analysis of a massive dataset of H-1B data for fiscal year 2019 provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, which breaks down over 412,425 H-1B cases (and also reveals the “secondary entities” where primary employers might send H-1B workers as subcontractors). The average “overall” tech salary stands at $93,244.

That’s not the whole story, of course. Business-services and consulting firms will secure as many H-1B workers as they can, and then subcontract those workers to client companies at lower rates than what full-time employees earn. Just because H-1B workers in a particular city are pulling down six-figure salaries doesn’t mean that all—or even most—H-1B workers are earning those amounts. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been denying H-1B applications at a much higher rate over the past two years, but it might be some time before the impact of that is fully felt.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article displayed incorrect data for some cities. It has now been corrected. Thanks to everyone who pointed it out!

15 Responses to “12 Cities Where H-1B Salaries, Employers are Highest”

    • While the average H1B salary in New York City is just “the measly” 90k – a notch better than in Dallas, but a notch less than in Austin.

      Also, it looks as the table is about H1B in all specialities, while the text is mostly about tech H1B.

  1. What is this reporter saying? – “Just because H-1B workers in a particular city are pulling down six-figure salaries doesn’t mean that all—or even most—H-1B workers are earning those amounts.” – Employer has to pay as per L CA – LCA is between employee and employer and does not matter what is the contract between employer and client in EVC model.

    • It is pretty possible to live on $90k in New Jersey, just across the river from Manhattan. Many people commute every day from there; most of them are American citizens. It is also possible to live on $90k in NYC – not on Manhattan, but, e.g. in Bronx or Brooklyn. A single person can live even on Manhattan.

      • John Smith

        After working just under 6 figures for 20-30 years, I just started a job at $50k. The range was higher but you have to do what you have to do. Also I had just started to live on retirement money so there really was not a need for a lot of income and if it doesn’t work out I can bail at any time.

  2. Duh…

    This article is basically restating the law of demand and supply combined with the purpose of the H-1B program by saying that H-1B salaries are highest in cities with high demand for those jobs for we cannot educate enough capable candidates, such as technology and medical jobs!

  3. Tech Companies are abusing H1b visa/Green card policy by hiring specifically South Indian descent(Tamil/Telugu) people from India, favouring them in return of paid commissions or abuse by making them work overtime thereby discriminating against all other Americans. This is prevalent in Software/Tech companies and Consulting firms, they have massive clans of South Indians running them, as if the only skilled IT professionals on planet Earth are South Indians and neither American, African, Chinese, Australian etc. not even North Indians from same country India have no skills as per their claim. They also are indulged in outsourcing of cheap labor with big commissions to Companies like Infosys, TCS in India by lobbying Senators in US, it’s a modern age of Human Trafficking, abusing people and take away American jobs. It must not be a coincidence that entire US Software/Tech industry has South Indian people running it, especially in a way of favouring each other for mutual benefits hurting other hard working professionals.

  4. medoito

    H1-B is hardly about quality candidates. Lottery can pick quality candidates, it is luck. H1 use to be better in early 2000 but slowly it was misused with massive corruption, enslavement of h1b candidates threatening them about GC for decades. It is abused by all companies most of them are body shopping who gives commission to client via primary vendor. Lawyers benefit heavily, they lobby ins,uscis to never bother about this corrupt system. Uscis/INS is the main culprit in letting it happen, for simple reason(they earn great amount of money from this abusive program). Shortage of quality american worker is a myth created by american companies to keep this corrupt visa program going. Most H1 candidates are exploited and paid lower salary.