According to a government report, H-1B visa holders tend to earn $130,000 on average a year in IT jobs, proving that they are not “cheap labor.”
According to USCIS’s Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers, Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Report to Congress, the average annual pay for an H-1B visa holder in computer-related jobs in 2022 was $129,000. In 2022, the median pay for H-1B professionals working in computer-related jobs was $123,000.
A petition for an H-1B visa is approved if an employer pays at least- (I) the wage level paid by the employer to all other employees with similar experience and qualifications for the specific job at hand, or (II) the wages for the occupation in question, whichever is greater..”
“The USCIS data show H-1B visa holders are paid high salaries, and it contradicts the idea that these are low-skilled people since employers would not pay people with low skills such high salaries,” said Mark Regets, a labor economist and senior fellow at the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).
In addition to these salaries, Regets points out employers must pay substantial fees when they hire foreign-born scientists and engineers. According to NFAP, a company can spend as much as $31,800 in government and legal fees when filing the first H-1B petition (for three years) and an extension for three more years.
Sponsoring an individual for permanent residence can add $10,000 to $15,000 or more.
H-1B visa holders in computer-related occupations have seen median salaries increase by 26% between 2018 and 2022, and average salaries have increased by 23%. Within a decade, the average salary for H-1B visa holders in computer-related occupations could reach about $200,000 a year at the current pace.
The Department of Labor finds every year that some H-1B visa holders are underpaid, and some companies are violating the law, despite the data showing H-1B professionals are paid well in general.
Analysts note, however, that it appears many who claim employers of H-1B visa holders do so because they are “cheap labour” do so in an effort to diminish the talent of H-1B professionals or, in some circumstances, even to denigrate them as human beings.