Google had over 2,500 foreign workers approved to work in the U.S. during fiscal year 2016. Many of these individuals are software developers employed through the H-1B visa program. But the tech giant is not alone in looking outside of the U.S. for talent.
The H-1B visa program is the main way U.S. employers hire talented foreign workers. The U.S. allows as many as 85,000 H-1B visa applicants into the country annually, but the number of applicants has increased significantly over the last decade. In the years between 2009 and 2016, the number of applications filed by employers increased from 246,126 to 339,349, according to a Pew Research Center report.
Recently U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, together with the Pew Research Center, released data on the number of visas granted per employer, and included the amount of pay the employees receiving these visas earn annually. The overwhelming majority of H-1B visas were for computer-related jobs, with many of the visa holders natives of India, according to the data.
If you’re looking to move to the U.S. for one of these jobs with H-1B visa sponsorship, we’ve ranked the twelve top-paying employers, according to Pew’s report. These companies pay well and also offer stellar retirement plans.
12. Ernst & Young
- 1,552 employees on an H-1B visa
- $96,316 average salary for those employees
The professional service firm provides audit, tax, business risk, technology and security risk services and human capital services worldwide. Here in the U.S., Ernst & Young is hiring foreign workers via the visa program to fulfill jobs as advisory seniors, managers and staff, as well as assurance staff and seniors. Sure, an accountant might be a boring job, but it pays really well.
- 1,873 employees on an H-1B visa
- $101,025 average salary for those employees
Intel, the manufacturer of computer products and technologies, has filed for a combined total of more than 10,000 H-1B visas between 2011 and 2016, according to MyVisaJobs. The Santa Clara, Calif. company typically hires foreign workers as electronic engineers, software developers, graphic hardware engineers and other similar occupations.
10. Deloitte Consulting
- 3,114 employees on an H-1B visa
- $102,558 average salary for those employees
Deloitte Consulting has one of the highest numbers of approved H-1B visas and pay, according to the fiscal 2016 data. Deloitte has 230 foreign employees on the visa program in Houston, Texas alone. The city has the third-highest number of visa holders in the U.S., according to the Houston Business Journal.
9. JP Morgan Chase & Co.
- 1,467 employees on an H-1B visa
- $111,469 average salary for those employees
JP Morgan Chase is a multinational corporation dealing in securities, investments, retail, financial services and hedge funds. The company filed for over 4,922 labor condition applications, and it ranks as No. 20 on the list of top H1-B sponsors in the nation, according to MyVisaJobs. These visas were filed for application software developers, financial analysts, operations research analysts and other similar occupations.
- 2,739 employees on an H-1B visa
- $115,257 average salary for those employees
The multinational e-commerce company has turned into the ultimate online retailer. The Seattle-based company is also one of the country’s largest H-1B visa sponsors. Between 2014 and 2016, the company had filed for 6,395 labor condition applications, according to MyVisaJobs. Positions filled through H-1B sponsorship include software development engineers, application software developers, computer information systems managers and similar roles.
7. Qualcomm Technologies
- 1,254 employees on an H-1B visa
- $118,155 average salary for those employees
The computer chip maker Qualcomm Technologies is another tech company that struggles to find qualified workers locally and depends on the H-1B visa program. At least 15 percent of its American workers are from the program, according to The New York Times.
Foreign workers in the visa program predominately fill software staff and test engineering positions, according to VisaDoor.
6. Oracle America
- 1,448 employees on an H-1B visa
- $118,507 average salary for those employees
Oracle is the second-largest software company in the world, recently surpassing its rival, IBM, in revenue. The company has hired foreign workers on an H-1B visa for senior management positions in San Antonio, Texas, according to the San Antonio Business Journal. Taking a broader look at the H-1B visas within Oracle, many of the filled positions include software developers, software engineers, application developers, computer systems analysts and similar jobs.
Oracle is looking to expand into Mexico to offset President Donald Trump’s efforts to reduce immigration to the U.S. In particular, Oracle’s new potential location in the state of Jalisco could create hundreds of jobs, according to the Business Standard. Other companies, such as Facebook and Amazon, are also exploring and expanding options in Mexico for the same reason.
5. Cisco Systems
- 1,529 employees on an H-1B Visa
- $121,372 average salary for those employees
Cisco Systems, the telecommunications technology company, is also a major user of H-1B visas. Company executives have lobbied for the visa program’s expansion over the years, even in the midst of company-wide layoffs. In fiscal year 2016, many of Cisco’s H-1B jobs were management-level logisticians and operations research analysts who were paid well, according to the Economic Times.
- 3,556 employees on an H-1B Visa
- $126,096 average salary for those employees
Microsoft is another tech giant that attracts a swarm of H-1B visa workers. The company cut thousands of sales jobs recently, while simultaneously requesting H-1B visa foreign workers to primarily fulfill software engineering positions and similar jobs.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he welcomed Trump’s review of H-1B visas in an interview on American Public Media’s “Make Me Smart” in May. “Ultimately, it’s about high-skill labor, and a review that says there is the right use of [the H-1B] and misuses of it and we promote more the right uses of it, all the better for American competitiveness,” he said. “At least at Microsoft, when we think about H-1B, it’s mostly about high-skilled labor that allows us, an American company, to be globally competitive.”
- 2,517 employees on an H-1B visa
- $131,882 average salary for those employees
Google has had a considerable number of employees on an H-1B visa, according to recent data. The immigrants on these visas are typically working as software engineers for Google, according to an email obtained by Recode. As the company has grown over the past decade, its stock has grown too — see what $1,000 invested 10 years ago is worth today.
In January 2017, when Trump issued an immigration order banning individuals from specific countries from entering the U.S., Google had at least 187 employees from the countries impacted by the ban, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- 1,992 employees on an H-1B visa
- $138,563 average salary for those employees
Apple is also one of the top users of the H-1B visa program, according to the data, as well as the one of the highest paying. Employees can be part of a company that’s been producing cutting-edge products for more than a decade, dominating in both computing and mobile technologies. Apple has filed for over 4,000 H-1B visas from 2014 to 2016 at its Cupertino location, according to MyVisaJobs. Filled positions include software engineers, application software engineers, electrical engineers and other computer-related occupations.
- 1,107 employees on an H-1B visa
- $140,758 average salary for those employees
Facebook is one of Silicon Valley’s top tech employers. The research shows Facebook pays the highest average salary among companies with the most H-1B application approvals. In fact, H-1B temporary work visas make up more than 15 percent of Facebook’s U.S. staff, according to a Reuters report.
Earlier this year, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg created an immigration lobby group, called “Forward Us,” as a call to action for the U.S. government to grant more H-1B visas.
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About the Author
With a broadcast news career that spans more than a decade, Lia Sestric has had the opportunity to cover local and national news for television and radio. The Washington, D.C.-based writer has been freelance writing for a number of years. She frequently writes about higher education, careers, and finance. Along with GOBankingRates, her work has appeared on major sites like Yahoo, The Huffington Post, MSN and many other news outlets.