East Coast Metropolitan Areas Top H-1B Cities

From 2010 through 2016, cities on the East Coast topped the metropolitan areas around the country for high-skilled foreign workers in the United States using H-1B visas.  During the time period, 29 percent ( 247,900 ) of H-1B visa approvals went to employers located in the New York City metropolitan area.

Foreign workers with H-1B visas also made up a significant part of the workforce in several Texas metropolitan areas. Within the Dallas area, for instance, some 74,000 foreign workers hold H-1B visas. In the state’s College Station area, 99 percent of H-1B visas went to foreign workers employed by Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. With these numbers, according to Pew Research, 32 of every 100 workers in the Texas metro works as an H-1B visa employee.

Somewhat surprisingly, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports only 22,200 H-1B visa approvals for employees working in the San Jose area of California from 2010-2016. The San Jose metro, which includes Silicon Valley, is home to some of the world’s most famous technology companies. Pew researchers calculate the approval rate to amounting to only two approvals for every 100 workers in the metro area.

“Demand for high-skilled worker visas has boomed in recent years, and the H-1B program is now the primary way employers in the U.S. hire high-skilled foreign workers,” according to the Pew report.

From a nationwide perspective, H-1B visa workers earned an average of $80,600 annually during the 2010-2016 time period. Employees in Bridgeport, Conn. saw the highest average annual salary at just over $100,000. H-1B visa workers in Seattle followed with an annual salary of just over $98,000, and those in Phoenix earning just over $97,000.

Almost half ( 49 percent ) of employees with H-1B approvals hold an advanced degree, meaning a master’s, professional or doctorate level of education. Interestingly, 75 percent of H-1B visa employees in the Eerie, Pa. metropolitan area hold an advanced degree even though the area is home to only 700 H-1B visa holders.

On April 2, USCIS began accepting H-1B petitions for visas issued for fiscal year 2019. By April 6, the agency received more than 190,000 petitions– reaching far beyond the statutory cap of 65,000 for holders of undergraduate degrees and a cap of 20,000 for holders of advanced degrees.