The Highest-Paid H-1B Workers at Tech’s Biggest Companies

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) received more than 300,000 H-1B registrations for fiscal year 2022, suggesting that businesses are recovering from the pandemic and looking for talent. But which companies are willing to pay the most for H-1B workers, and for which jobs?

For answers, we can turn to the H-1B Salary Database, which indexes the Labor Condition Application (LCA) disclosure data from the United States Department of Labor (DOL). Searching the database for the top-paying H-1B job at some of the nation’s largest tech companies is straightforward:

First thing to note: According to this same database, the median salary for a software developer on an H-1B visa currently stands at $93,558, based on data from 1,291 employers in 742 cities. The above salaries are a healthy multiple of that, suggesting that these workers are indeed highly specialized.  

Second, it’s surprising that Netflix’s top H-1B salary is so low compared to the other companies on this list. Netflix has a reputation for paying ludicrously outsized salaries for talent, on the theory that employees worth an insane sum will deliver an insane amount of value (or receive a very nice severance package on their way out the door). Crowdsourced compensation numbers from levels.fyi suggest that Netflix’s software engineers can make nearly half a million dollars per year.

Third, that a marketing director would be Apple’s highest-paid H-1B worker might strike some as a bit odd. It’s slightly reminiscent of when Facebook paid $656,000 for an H-1B applicant to serve as its vice president of global affairs and communications, a role requiring skills that any company should have no problem sourcing domestically. But Facebook could have argued that the person who took that role was Nick Clegg, the former British deputy prime minister, who had skills and connections likely difficult to find anywhere else; for Apple, it’s a bit harder to see why they’d need an H-1B to source a marketing director, but perhaps it’s for something so highly specialized that the company literally couldn’t find the right candidate within the U.S.

The number of H-1B applicants has risen steady since 2014, despite the visa’s annual cap remaining largely unchanged for the past 17 years, according to The New York Times’ recent breakdown of USCIS data. Since the visa’s inception, its critics have argued that companies routinely use it to bring in overseas workers at lower wages; advocates, meanwhile, insist that the majority of companies really do rely on the visa to source specialized talent they can find nowhere else.  

5 Responses to “The Highest-Paid H-1B Workers at Tech’s Biggest Companies”

  1. Yes, talented people makes a lot of money, we know that. Most of H1Bs also make good money considering the COL of the areas they live. Talented people are hard to find that’s why Big Tech companies hire lots of H1Bs, this helps them to maintain their levels of productivity and profitability, which we’ve never seen before.

    • No, that is the myth, the real reason is big companies want reasonably talented people to work for much lower wages than Americans. We have plenty of trained engineers and IT professionals in this country, but they expect a fair wage and benefits. H1B was a myth started by IBM and has permeated the IT, and Pharmaceutical Industries. Companies should have prove they would not find Americans to take these positions.

  2. jake leone

    If you want to effectively double the number of H-1b visas that are going to Silicon Valley companies, without legislation (such legislation is impossible right now), you need to get Biden to keep Trump’s executive order which switched from a brain-dead random chance lottery for H-1b visas, to an allocation of h-1b visas based upon salary.

    Biden needs to suck it up, hating everything Trump is a childish (zero-IQ) response. Even people here on an OPT visa, 500+ people, have filed a lawsuit against the brain-dead lottery. Trump’s change was supported by Democrats and Republicans in an open letter sent to President Biden.

    More than half the H-1b visas go to Offshore Outsourcing companies, that don’t sponsor people for Green Cards, that pay the lowest possible salaries, and whose whole business model is to remove entire departments and all supporting jobs to India.

    Instead of talking about a few trivial positions, you should be talking about why half the visas are wasted on job and economy destroying Offshore Outsourcing companies.

    And the bigger the company, the more they act like the Offshore Outsourcing companies with regard to the gaming the immigration system and discriminating against highly qualified American STEM/IT workers.

    Facebook, discriminated against qualified local U.S. STEM workers 2600+ times over just a 1.5 year period. And that is all in a DOJ indictment that is going to trial and has a face value of 260 million dollars in fines.

    Facebook protected foreign workers from having to compete with better qualified local STEM/IT workers (by Facebook’s own admission to Federal investigators) .

    Facebook told Federal Investigators that out of hundreds of resumes received for every openly advertised positions (the foreign worker positions are not openly advertised) Facebook routinely finds 30+ local STEM/IT workers, that Facebook told Federal Investigators are better qualified than foreign workers undergoing the PERM process, Foreign workers that Facebook is protecting from the U.S. Free Labor market competition.

    The reality is, Big Tech is not having any problems finding extremely well qualified local STEM/IT workers. Because many highly skilled STEM workers would quickly jump from a startup company to a more stable Big Tech company.

    By Facebook’s own admission, Facebook is finding 30x more highly qualified local STEM/IT workers than it can hire. This is what Facebook told Federal investigators, under the threat of a Federal obstruction of Justice charge (the same charge that put Martha Stewart, a billionaire, in jail).

    If you have any evidence that runs counter to what Facebook told investigators, you should bring it to the attention of the U.S. Justice Department.

    So far no one, not even Facebook, has brought in any counter-evidence. Facebook’s challenge of the indictment, was solely over jurisdiction and not substance. And that challenge was rejected by the court and so the 2600+ count discrimination case against Facebook can now go to trial.

  3. Why Facebook, Google and Amazon offer entry level pay (no experience) for H1B works. H1B is made to bring high skilled experience workers, they always should get here in a high skilled experience position.

  4. Not just H1’B are talented, there is a huge list which is equally talented for success of H/L visa in the U.S..
    Agents/Companies who find people for h/l visa for cash
    Fake agreements and work orders for visa
    Open one company as staffing and other as software development company for visa
    Companies who file as woman/minority based certification but no woman actively doing business
    Fake resumes and able to take away Citizen’ jobs
    Posing as American using fake names for recruiting, marketing etc.. and even as IRS Agents for scams.