The Highest-Paid H-1B Workers at Google, Other Tech Giants

How much are some of the nation’s largest tech companies willing to pay their H-1B workers? And how does H-1B compensation compare to the average technology professional salary?

For an answer, 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). As you can see from the following chart, H-1B salaries for certain positions at Meta, Google, and other companies are startlingly high—especially compared to the average technology professional salary of $104,566 (according to the most recent Dice Salary Report):

These salaries aren’t typical for H-1B visa workers, of course. Many tech companies subcontract H-1B workers from business-services and consulting firms—and the latter tend to pay those workers quite a bit less than what they’d make as a regular hire at those tech companies. Nonetheless, the H-1B workers in these particular roles must have a highly specialized skill set to pull down such enormous salaries.

While advocates argue the visa is a good way for companies to secure hard-to-find talent, especially during a period of low tech unemployment, critics insist the visa is abused to hire lots of specialized labor at cheap rates. The Biden administration has indicated it intends to tweak the program at some point: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) previously offered a much-delayed proposal (now scheduled for May 2023) that could adjust the definition of the H-1B employer-employee relationship, in addition to updating guidelines such as employer site visits and F-1 students changing their status to H-1B. 

However, the Biden administration clearly has other priorities—in contrast to the Trump administration, which issued frequent proposals to limit and/or reform the H-1B program. Whether the H-1B will actually see a major overhaul over the next few years is a very big—and very open—question.

One Response to “The Highest-Paid H-1B Workers at Google, Other Tech Giants”

  1. Jake_Leone

    In DOJ vs Facebook (now META), Facebook admits it protects foreign workers from having to compete for their job, against better qualified local STEM/IT workers (by Facebook’s own admission to Federal investigators, (under threat of a Federal Obstruction of Justice charge if Facebook should lie or mislead the investigators).
    Facebook also told Federal Investigators, for every STEM/IT jobs that it openly advertises, it receives hundreds of qualified resumes. 30+ of these candidates are fully qualified for the job, and are better qualified than foreign workers (undergoing the Green Card perm process at Facebook) holding similar positions (by Facebook’s own admission to Federal Investigators). Facebook turns away 29 or so highly qualified candidates per job opening. Facebook NEVER forwards the resumes of these better qualified local STEM/IT candidates, to the hiring managers involved the Green Card Perm process. Because that would immediately disqualify the foreign worker from being able to receive a Green Card.
    Most of the unqualified Green Card applicants come in via the H-1b visa. H-1b visas are issued using a Brain-Dead random chance lottery. The Trump administration had put in a change to go from the current brain-dead lottery, to an allocation of H-1b visas based upon salary (which is an actual proxy for skill). But the Biden administration has shelved this.
    Industry didn’t like the change, even though the change would have made it easier for local foreign students, in the OPT program, to obtain H-1b visas. Industry opposed it, even though this would make more h-1b visas available to foreign workers with higher skills.
    And the reason is simple. Most H-1b visas are used to find mediocre foreign workers, who remain trapped at their job, forever, because of the long Green Card wait for workers from India.
    This has made the H-1b to Green Card system, a de-facto tech worker slave system, where foreign workers are preferred over better qualified local candidates, because they can’t leave their jobs (they simply don’t have their full 13th amendment rights under the current, backward , system).
    There is a long history of this kind of manipulation of the job market by Big Tech companies. The emails exposed in the Silicon Valley No Poaching Scandal, between Eric Schmidt and Steve Jobs expose the sick corruption and depth of depravity that Tech CEO’s will go to, to deny workers (any worker they can) the same rights that all other workers have.
    Zuckerberg and Chan, donated hundreds of millions (literally) to the Democratic compaign. And as a result, nothing will change in the H-1b program, workers will remain trapped, the Green Card system will never be overhauled.
    And the irony of it all is that this preference for foreign workers, because they can self-indenture, over better qualified local candidates (or even better qualified foreign candidates from Europe and Israel, where the Green Card wait time is small), has cost Facebook tens of billions of dollars.
    Facebook had a chance to hire (Whatsapp founders) Brian Acton and Jan Koum, before they started Whatsapp. Both of them were highly qualified, experiences full stack and security programmers, each with more than a decade of experience, back in 2009 (Exactly the kinds of engineers that Facebook whines it can never find, yet here they were, interviewing at Facebook, but no job offer from Facebook).
    Facebook paid 19 billion for Whatsapp, but they could have had 2 highly qualified local (full stack software developers) for the cost of a modest engineers salary, 5 years earlier. Facebook could have added Whatsapp’s security capability to Facebook, for less than a million in salary over 4 years.
    Instead, Facebook went with lesser qualified, foreign workers over better qualified, highly experienced, local candidates. And it cost shareholders 19 billion dollars.
    If you can’t see just how sick this is, and how bad it has actually been, it’s because you are falling in to the (uninformed) trap that industry wants us to be in. The kind of trap that hides the bitter failings of our tech CEO’s and holds back our tech industry because of mistakes and crimes these guys perpetrate on stock holders, our political system, and the hard working local STEM workers.