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.