Top 10 U.S. Cities Hungry to Acquire H-1B Workers

Which U.S. cities are seeing the most H-1B filings? As you might expect, the bulk of activity around the visa is centered in New York City and San Francisco/Silicon Valley, the nation’s largest tech hubs. However, cities such as Houston, Chicago, and Atlanta are also seeing elevated rates of H-1B filings.

For data, we’ve turned to the H-1B Salary Database, which indexes the Labor Condition Application (LCA) disclosure data from the United States Department of Labor (DOL). One interesting thing to note: On a city-by-city basis, there’s not a strict correlation between number of filings and the average H-1B salary—for example, Houston had an elevated number of H-1B filings, but the average salary there is well behind what H-1B workers are paid in Chicago, Austin, and other cities.

Here’s the full chart:

As we’ve pointed out before, the average salary for a city (or even a specific company) belies the true nuances of H-1B salaries. While many large tech companies in New York City and Silicon Valley pay their H-1B workers a lot of money (for example, the average H-1B salary at Google is $149,000, and an eye-popping $425,000 at Netflix), business-contracting and consulting firms such as Tata and Accenture pay their H-1B workers quite a bit less ($67,766 and $94,400, respectively, in the case of those companies). 

Overall city and national H-1B salaries might be high, in other words, but many H-1B workers are paid lower salaries and then subcontracted out, a practice that’s drawn critics’ ire for many years. 

President Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 features language (in the respective Senate and House bills) that prioritizes visas based on higher wages. Should that part of the bill become law, it could effectively eliminate the current H-1B lottery in favor of a system that prioritizes higher-wage applicants. That would have a seismic effect on the current H-1B ecosystem, potentially forcing companies to pay more for this type of talent while undermining the business model of contracting firms. Critics would argue that, since the H-1B system was ostensibly designed to pull in talent from overseas that companies couldn’t find anywhere else, such a change would represent progress.

Meanwhile, the average technologist made $97,859 in 2020 (an increase of 3.6 percent from 2019), according to the latest Dice Salary Report. In the major tech hubs, tech salaries were even higher—averaging $126,801 in Silicon Valley and $114,274 in New York City. However, the cost of living in those cities is also notably high. 

8 Responses to “Top 10 U.S. Cities Hungry to Acquire H-1B Workers”

  1. Yes, salaries may vary because of the cost of living.

    But either way, big companies hire a lot of H1Bs and pay a lot of money and big bonuses.

    At the same time, productivity of these companies is skyrocketing.

    And their prestige is extremely high.

    So, anything new?

  2. Jake_Leone

    Biden could have kept Trump’s change to a salary based allocation instead of an idiotic lottery. Yes, immigration lawyers would lost money from such a change, and immigration lawyers would challenge such a change in court, but there’s a good chance they would lose in an ugly fight. A fight that would pit the obvious self-interest of the immigration legal community vs immigrants and the country’s needs at large.

    Biden chose instead to put the provision in a bill that will only pass if the bids (compaign contributions) are large enough.

  3. Fortunate to be a work visa holder. They have to at least two countries to live happily. In their own country, they have a system in place called locals (they don’t let people from other states WITHIN their own country to take away their jobs).
    In US, they were backed up by a system (from visa approvals – till get jobs) where chain placements at clients where you see work visa holders from same community or agency.
    US is not lacked of skilled IT talent but system was blocked to get into the jobs.

  4. Vijay Swearingen

    As a US born Citizen, I hate these Visas. Companies should be forced to hire and train/ upskill US Born Citizens only. Big Tech is having the same effect as Manufacturing on Americans and we are all getting fed up!

  5. bruce childs

    We see news about “black lives matter.” We see news about Asian prejudice. What we don’t see is how many India’s are taking our tech jobs because they will work for a lower rate. It makes me sick!

  6. Eric Gates

    Plenty of poor people, minorities and other marginalized populations in those areas who are already citizens in need of high paying jobs. No money to actually educate and train those populations but plenty to sponsor visas and greencards. I’m all for immigration but not at the expense of people who are already here and need help. Poverty in the US is at crisis levels and we just ignore it.

    • Jake_Leone

      Americans have protection under the 13th amendment. The amendment that ended slavery and indenturement. Foreign workers, don’t have exactly this. They can leave their job, but if they do, they risk:
      – Going to the back of the Green Card line (a wait now measured in decades)
      – Returning to abject poverty in their home country
      There’s an Email exchange between Eric Schmidt and Steve Jobs, where Steve Jobs reminds Eric of their agreement. Eric Schmidt then fires a Google recruiter that successfully recruited an Apple Engineer.
      Later, Eric Schmidt writes to the other conspirators (all CEO’s), asking them to stop sending Emails and keep the conversation verbal only, in order to avoid a paper trail. But it was too late.
      It is your 13th amendment right to quit your employer, at anytime, and seek other work. Eric Schmidt and Steve Jobs denied that right to skilled engineer. They denied that right, which more than 360,000 North Americans died to see enacted, in America’s bloodiest war.
      .
      And they denied that right, for money’s sake, and nothing more. Pure Greed. Meaning, any one of these companies will sell you, your rights, for the right price. Yet here they are, controlling the data, the ability of people to speak out, the ability get pertinent information out… And to them it is all a big game and joke.

      And so, we have to ask ourselves, how on Earth can we trust these guys, with our very ability to communicate. They lie about everything, because they know they can lie all they want. Who is going to counter them, when they lie, if the entire internet is controlled by them. Realize this, the moment they are threatened with having to testify under oath, they cave in. Google, Apple and several other companies all settled, out of court, in the Silicon Valley no poaching scandal.

  7. In order to make the world a more equitable place, citizens need to be hired first. There are a lot of training programs that that are placing people w/o large amounts of money to go to school in the US into computer programming jobs. I worked at the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis and met a couple.

    The H1B workers that I have met are very good, but a lot of them are going home and taking their skill sets with them to open new competing with the the US of A businesses in their home their home countries…..primarily China and India at this point.

    Which leaves the US companies training other countries how to steal work and jobs from the United States…. All countries need to take care of their citizens so that they can compete worldwide and have a good quality of life……

    Outsourcing in-general decreases quality of life….at the expense of citizens of the outsourcing company.