H1B Salary

I saw this site on Hacker News. Someone put nice visualization on government data.


You can query your own company. Here are a few tech companies around town.




Have fun!


Do you know if Companies actually have to use current salary of the Candidate to file these numbers?

Also interesting to see the distribution of the same company in different location like Facebook for Menlo Park & Seattle.

I think companies have to tell Labor Dept the actual salary numbers.

Yes, it’s very interesting data.

Wow. Super interesting data. I looked up my own company, and the salaries roughly matched what I’d expect for non H1Bs.

My understanding is H1B is for skills which can’t be found locally, no? If so, I would expect the data to skew more towards the high “niche” salary – i.e., engineers with very specific skills which are in high demand. If you look at the google data, there is an enormous group of software engineers right at the 115K range. This is worker bee level, with no specific skills. Doesn’t that run contrary to the intent of the H1B program? Surely there are plenty of local worker bees?

There is no requirement to hire local people first. But due to the low annual quotas, local people still have a real advantage.

With the same ability and the same smartness, locals do have an advantage.

If Trump or future president removes the annual quota or make the quota really abundant, locals could lose the advantage. I’m not betting on that though. H1B is for high paying professional jobs, I think those professionals have resources to lobby against unlimited H1B quotas.

1 Like

Google puts everyone through the same interview process. Most people, US citizens or H1B’s, don’t pass through this interview. I’m not sure what you mean by worker bee level; the main skill here is passing the Google interview. By the way, Google pays ~15% of base as an annual bonus and GSU’s for new college grads should be ~$25-30k/yr. So the total comp of someone w/ base of $115k is ~$160k/year

BAGB is correct that local people have an advantage. One reason is that H1B’s can’t job-hop as easily. They also can’t join startups that don’t want to deal w/ H1B’s.

1 Like

Wow. I always assumed that was the case, but you’re right – it is myth number 6 here:

Are any other countries so generous?

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this. What is the intent of the H1B program? Is it to bring in labour from elsewhere, even if there is already a glut of such labour locally? What point does that serve other than increase supply and thereby put a downward pressure on wages?

Many European countries are much more generous than USA. When Google/Facebook can’t get H1B visas for new foreign people, they send them to work in UK, Canada or other countries first, and wait for the H1B quotas.

I think it is fine that no preference is given to local professionals. H1B holders are under a very small quota. The millions of illegal immigrants are a much larger issue for non-professional jobs, where there is protection for local unskilled labor. H1B’s quota protects local professionals very well.

Basically US protects professional’s job using H1B, but low end non-professionals have no protection.

I’m not really sure “passing a google interview” is listed on the official list of skills to look for in H1Bs? Maybe I missed that when I skimmed through the wikipedia entry on H1Bs.

When I say “worker bee” , I mean non-architect type engineers. I understand the difference between base and total comp. $115K base is a worker bee (entry level) engineering position.

My point is that a huge chunk of the google H1Bs are entry level engineer jobs. Fresh out of school, with no discernible niche skills (because it takes time working in the real world to develop niche skills). I’m not saying this is a bad thing, I’m just surprised, because I thought this ran contrary to the intent of the H1B program.

Do you have any data here? My understanding is that happens because there is indeed a shortage in many european countries. At least when I worked in europe, it was the case that I had to prove I had a specific skill set that could not be met with the existing local talent pool.

Entry level candidates have different levels of intelligence, just the students at the same grade can have different level of skills.

US professionals are well protected, doctors have the best protection. Lawyers have good protection. even engineers have some protection from H1B quotas.

Restaurant workers, Construciton workers and farm workers have zero protection.

I’m realizing I really don’t understand the point of the H1B system. I guess there are two possibilities.

  1. Bring in highly skilled individuals to service needs which can’t be met with the local workforce.
  2. Bring in smart people because smart people are good and add value.

We’ve already established that the intent is not #1, because employers are free to bring in fresh grads, and do not need to give preference to locals.

If the intent is #2, then why is everything sponsored by the employer, with the H1B chained to the employer for N years? If the intent is to just get smart people, then get the smart people and allow them to work wherever they please.

As it stands, I can only assume H1B is a gift to employers allowing them to apply a downward pressure on wages, by chaining H1Bs to a given company, where they may not have the freedom to bargain for a market (or higher) wage.

Totally agree on doctors being well protected, BTW.

No, government preference is local candidates, mainly citizens and green card holders. They are first.

Getting H1B is tougher with so many requirements.

First, Trump will not remove annual quota as he does not like foreign candidates for US jobs. Second, there had been many requests from various tech companies to remove the quota, no one approves removing annual quota.

Removing quota is detrimental to US local candidates jobs.

Then, H1B minimum pay is set to match standard equal skilled labor in USA. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) time to time changes the minimum pay requirement. I hope current pay is $72000 minimum.

There are proposals to increase from 72k to 100k

09/13/2016: Today’s Important House Judiciary Full Committee Session to Mark Up H.R. 5801, “Protect and Grow American Jobs Act”

This legislative bill proposes to change current $60,000 salary to $100,000 for a H-1B dependent employer to file H-1B petitions without complying with no replacement test. Additionally, current law also allows the H-1B dependent employers to file H-1B petition for foreign workers who hold a Master’s degree in the specialty, but this bill proposes to eliminate this exemption. Accordingly, should this bill be enacted, the H-1B dependent employers will not be able to file H-1B petition for any foreign workers unless they are paid minimum of $100,000 annual salary, regardless of their holding of a Master’s degree, unless they comply with no replacement test. Please stay tuned to this website for the decision of the House Judiciary Full Committee today.

The intent might’ve been #1 but it’s actually used for #2. Although it seems like the O-1 visa is intended for use-case #2.

Companies need to prove they can’t hire citizens before they can hire H1B’s. But the check really has no teeth, so it’s easy to “game the system” that way.

But in reality, getting H1B visas are difficult. Quota runs out in the first day or two. So companies do try very hard to hire locally if they can. Also, you want to hire smart, competent people, not anyone who claims they know how to program in the favorite language of the day. That’s why companies spend so much money on engineers. A very good one can be 10x more productive than a mediocre one.

1 Like

H1B quota is the only effective incentive for local companies to prefer local candidates. But most of the H1B visas are obtained by Indian outsourcing contracting companies.

Trump is working with American companies to bring back jobs and cash. I’m afraid he might succeed to bring many jobs back. That could mean high inflations and high mortgage rate. Ironically, What’s good for middle America workers might be bad for BA real estate.

Are you sure this is what is happening on the ground?

H1B salaries tell you more than you think, but less than you think at the same time.

  • For folks from India or China, it takes 10+ years to get a Green Card. So the numbers you see span across fresh grads ~ 10yr veterans.

  • H1B wages are only base, as someone mentioned here. At Google/Facebook though, base is roughly half of your total compensation, starting from year 3+. If your base feels larger than 50% of total compensation, start interviewing.

  • Yes, H1B acceptance is approx 30% even at these co’s, and people do get “bullpened” in European offices.

  • G/F/A/etc are the wrong sample data points to think about how H1B program is doing. These folks can probably get good positions elsewhere too (Europe, Asia, Canada …). Bring your Facebook offer to Samsung - they will match that, and throw in free housing. But, the vast majority of H1Bs go to Asian sourcing companies.


Well, now we have data on it. It’s weird the government agency wouldn’t release this data before. I guess we can see what they were hiding. I would expect the Visa rules to change.