20 U.S. Cities That Pay the Highest H-1B Worker Salaries

Despite the Trump administration’s temporary ban on the H-1B (and speculation that the ban could become permanent), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is moving ahead with a proposed revamp of the visa. Although the details remain largely under wraps, it’s clear that chances could include a tighter focus on the definition of “specialty occupation,” which is the ostensible reason the visa exists.

In other words, it’s potentially a big inflection moment. And in that spirit, it’s well worth looking at the U.S. cities that pay out the highest salaries for H-1B workers, since they (and the companies within them) might have to deal with a seismic shift over the next year or two, once DHS unveils the updated guidelines.

Data from this list comes from the H-1B Salary Database, which indexes the Labor Condition Application (LCA) disclosure data from the United States Department of Labor (DOL). Here’s the breakdown of top U.S. cities by H-1B salary; keep in mind that this includes all H-1B roles, such as medical, in addition to tech:

That the cities that constitute Silicon Valley dominated this list (despite the inclusion of non-tech H-1Bs) should come as no surprise to pretty much anybody. Technology firms in the Bay Area are famous for their use of the H-1B visa, both directly and via subcontractors and “business services” firms. Just look at how many H-1B workers Facebook and Google file for, in addition to Apple and the other tech giants:

As the tech industry continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and more tech companies (including Facebook and Twitter) embrace the concept of a remote workforce, it will be interesting to see if this Bay Area cluster of H-1B workers shifts noticeably in coming years as these companies’ employees disperse. 

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s reliance on the H-1B explains why Redmond, WA has such a high concentration of workers on the visa. The H-1B prevalence in the New York towns of Greenwich and Yorktown Heights could be tied very heavily to fintech, which has been recruiting all kinds of technologists in droves in order to create the next generation of financial-services and trading apps

Critics of the H-1B system point out that these average salaries are skewed, and that consulting and business-services firms typically pay their H-1B subcontractors quite a bit lower than the specialists who arrive via direct application. What’s key in this city breakdown, though, is that the nation’s biggest tech hubs are also some of the biggest users of the H-1B—not exactly shocking. Whatever the outcome of the election, keep an eye on whether this situation remains stable. 

18 Responses to “20 U.S. Cities That Pay the Highest H-1B Worker Salaries”

    • Antibiotics

      Is this a problem for you . You people are not understanding the fact h1b is benefit to US economy .. it’s political abuse and they are making people fools.. if you have right skills you are given first priority over h1b

      • Antibiotics – You’re funny. “…if you have right skills you are given first priority over h1b.”

        1) I’ll take a guess that you are Indian and benefit from the H1B program.
        2) Business is based on cost and perceived benefit. H1B’s are seen as lower cost. While this is not true, that is the perception. It has nothing to do with skill.

    • disgusted

      Lies, damn lies , and statistics…
      placement firms are receiving these numbers. The “workers” are getting about 60K, the placement firms pocket the spread. The bidding wars drive the “going rate” down, eventually reaching 60K + 10%. That was where we were headed until DJT threw a monkey wrench in the system.

    • MICHAEL R HOWARD

      @James Murphy: Making under 60K may more be an indicator of geographical location than lack of being special. Southern Indiana (where I’m located) has a very low cost of living and that is reflected in the level of salary you can hope to command here. If you were to make the salary of my company’s CEO in the silicon valley, you wouldn’t be able to afford the rent. It’s all relative…

  1. Michelle Pope

    Moderators,

    I guess you already know this that insights.dice.com is filled with xenophobic comments. I am posting here as I am expecting more xenophobia for this article.
    Being a journalist, this sparks my interest. However, as a courtesy I wanted to give you enough time to respond.

    Thanks,
    Michelle

    • Abdul Debulbulemir

      As an ex-H1b (direct with the company, not via subcontract), I support the H1b program so long as the pay is competitive, and actually given to the worker. At the time, I was paid about 110% of the going rate for the area. To ensure it is not abused the minimum H1b pay should be 150% of the median tech pay in each market. This will stop discrimination against American workers and boot the likes of Tata out of the country.

    • Not Mark Twain

      The problem “Mark” is that the Indian recruiters bugging US citizens with spam will show us a completely different job description and pay scale than they do their preferred caste of Indian applicants. There has been a lawsuit against Cisco precisely over senior Indian employees discriminating against an employee from a lower caste.

      The numbers in this case are lying because the people who put them up steal from the employees they want to have hired. You can’t scalp income from a US citizen but you can rip off an Indian and coach them to lie on a job interview in order to sound more qualified and get higher pay. Since corporations want more work done at a cheaper rate the whole “but high skilled immigrants are better than Americans” is a load of utter crap. There are too many highly skilled veterans and graduates who never get interviews just because they aren’t low priced and low skill foreigners. No one wins but the three major Indian tech subcontractors.

      The whole system is a disgusting scam and it needs to be shut down.

  2. disgusted

    and why are cities hiring foreigners to flush tax payer dollars. The least they can do is pay Americans and force the contractors to hire recent grads or the unemployed ? Do the decision makers get a kick-back from the placement firms ?

  3. Media or journalism is to provide truth, that is what people thought. Unfortunately, when you open news like yahoo (they removed comments section because they didn’t like people opposing the wrong articles), you see everything negativity about Trump or igniting racism. This is within people in US, not about other nationals.
    If someone is a journalist here, demand other journalists to write the truth. just like the true data about H-1B provide in this article.

    Also, the journalists (US Citizen, not naturalized Citizen) can join as a staffing recruiter or work at an immigration law firm or work in IT at any client to verify comments or sufferings in dice H-1B articles are true or not.

  4. If you’re not an American Citizen, just get the F”! out ]. I’ve had 2 cardiac stents over the past 2 years. Hey….guess what? The first STEM crew were, yes, that’s right INDIAN. Well….they positioned the first one requiring a 2nd exactly a year later…..Sorry India, whatever you touch it ends up breaking, You can’t help it, your national treasure is Poverty.