Tag Archives: h1b salary

Prevailing Wage: How Much Does A Foreigner Need To Be Paid

It is a source of confusion for many foreigners when they realize that there is actually a minimum wage that they must be paid to be sponsored on an H-1B Visa, E-3 Visa or O-1 Visa that is not related to general US minimum wage law. This is known as the Prevailing Wage and it differs by profession, level, geography and nature of the role.

When an employer files the ETA-9035(e) form to the Department of Labor (DOL) to get your approved Labor Condition Application (LCA), a part of that form relates to inputting the Prevailing Wage from a verified source. This is the only step required in a standard E-3 visa application prior to an applicant going to their US Consulate interview if outside the country but it is the preceding step to filing the I-129 form to the USCIS which is mandatory for H-1B visa, the O-1 Visa and for the E-3 Visa if the applicant is already present in the US under an approved status.

The actual Prevailing Wage can be slightly subjective but the important thing to note is that it is never a very low amount and the LCA can be rejected if the DOL determines it is not the appropriate job code and pay level given your role. Many foreigners fall at this step in their eagerness to get to the US they are willing to be paid a lot less for the chance not realizing this is part of the process.

The are a few government approved sources but the most common is the FLC Data Center. They have a wizard where you can enter your location and job type and you can manually find which job code is most suitable relative to the role you are going to fill and the Level from I to IV which largely corresponds to seniority.

It is here with job codes and similar job types and the seniority that people get creative with what job code is suitable to match their pay level. However you want to be careful as if you are a professional leading a team and you just put down a Level I, Entry Level Job code for your job type, you could be rejected and face additional scrutiny for any future application. As mentioned these job rates relate to professional jobs so the rates are far higher than any minimum wage level for the state.

Also it is worthwhile noting there will be significant differences for the same role depending on your location. A Business Analyst working for Ernst & Young for example in NYC will have to be paid more than if they were working in Seattle at the minimum allowed level. Ultimately you should negotiate the best wage, benefits, bonus, equity and severance package policy at the beginning and this minimum level should never be an issue.


Top 10 H1B Visa Companies & H1B Visa Cities 2011-12

We always try and give our readers as much insight and information to help you in your H1B visa search to live and work in the US. This information comes to us from Rediff and looks at monthly spending of the top 10 companies and top 10 cities in relation to the H1B visa (it should be noted this is equally applicable to a great degree to the E3 visa just at a smaller scale)

In the past we have looked at the Top 100 companies that sponsored US work visas and E3 Visa specific employer sponsors among other tips around creating US resumes, US interview tips and our Top 10 steps to working in the US. So there is many a good grounding of resources across the site along with the many reader experiences as to how they traveled to the US and found a job.

Given the nature of this information we think it gives a foreigners a good idea of the pulse of the US hiring market and where the majority of opportunities currently lie from a corporate and sector perspective as well as the cities and regions of the country that you may have most success.

The data below while not specific in the source of the numbers from Rediff, is certainly great from a directional perspective and shows everybody a great perspective on the US economy and job market at large. Firstly we look at the Top 10 companies in terms of spending on the H1B visa

Top 10 H1B Visa Companies

Company Monthly Spend
Microsoft $226,901
Patni Americas $67,744
Oracle $61,592
Satyam $60,032
Fujitsu $51,682
Cognizant $38,857
Polaris $38,354
Marlabs $32,233
Larsen & Toubro Infotech $31,550
Tata $30,930

This list of company is not that different from some of the past years and other top employer lists we released. You can see it is dominated by high tech and bio tech companies obviously seeking the highly skilled foreign engineers, computer scientists and graduate/phd level foreigners. A good proportion of which would have graduated as students on the F1 visa from US colleges and universities and may have worked during their F1 OPT period at these companies prior to their full employment and H1B visa sponsorship. US students are a minority as colleges and universities for studies in the sciences, engineering, math and technology particularly at the graduate level. Hence the push from a lot of these companies to push for even greater quota for the H1B visa to help fill large vacancies.

Top 10 H1B Visa Cities

City Monthly Spend
New York $112,335
Mountain View $90,529
Cupertino $88,143
Palo Alto $87,832
Redmond $87,086
Santa Clara $85,032
Sunnyvale $81,028
Chicago $78,312
San Jose $77,273
San Francisco $72,442

The Top 10 H1B visa cities presents information that in many ways matches the list above. 7 of the 10 cities in this list come from the Bay Area and Silicon Valley in Northern California home to the tech industry of the world and some of the most innovative companies of recent history such as;

– Apple (Cupertino)
– Facebook (Palo Alto)
– Twitter (San Francisco)
– Yahoo (Sunnyvale)
– Google (Mountain View)

Then when you consider that Redmond in Washington is home to Microsoft and that Oracle is also located in this Northern California area and that New York and Chicago are two of the world’s largest cities for not just technology but finance, health and many other industries you can start to see a common trend.

One thing to note is that where there is opportunity there is also competition. So if you look at other major centers like Houston TX, Charlotte NC, Austin TX, Boston MA among other areas of the country that there are also many other great regions in the country to live and work