Tech Talk: Breaking Down the H-1B Visa Numbers

U.S. employers planned to pay high-skilled foreign workers with H-1B visas a median salary of $80,000 a year in fiscal year 2016, up from about $69,000 a decade earlier, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data. This is the first time the U.S. government has made salary information about H-1B applicants publicly available.

The 2016 median salary reported for H-1B visa applicants was higher than the median salary paid to some U.S. workers in similar high-skill occupations. For example, U.S. workers in computer and mathematical occupations had a median salary of $75,036 in fiscal 2016, a slight increase from 2007, when the median salary was $73,979 (adjusted to 2016 dollars), according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on all U.S. workers. The majority (60%) of all H-1B applicants from fiscal 2007 to 2016 were seeking employment in computer and mathematical occupations.

Several bills have been proposed in Congress this year to change the H-1B program, and the Trump administration has said it backs a plan that would reverse decades of U.S. immigration policy by admitting more high-skilled immigrants and fewer low-skilled immigrants.

The USCIS data show that overall demand for H-1B visas has increased sharply over the past decade. The number of total H-1B visa applications filed by employers on behalf of foreign workers increased from 246,126 in fiscal 2009 to 399,349 in 2016, and is on pace to reach a new high in 2017. Overall, U.S. employers filed more than 3.4 million H-1B visa applications from fiscal 2007 through the end of June 2017 (the first nine months of fiscal 2017).

The U.S. government also released H-1B visa salaries that individual employers plan to pay foreign workers, as indicated on applications approved by USCIS (and still subject to State Department review).

The biggest names in technology planned to pay the highest average salary to H-1B visa holders in fiscal 2016. But they also expected to hire fewer workers than other companies, according to data on applications approved by USCIS. Facebook planned to pay an average salary of $140,758 on 1,107 H-1B visa applications (a total that includes both first-time and renewal applications), the highest average salary paid among the 30 companies with the most visa approvals. Apple planned to pay a $138,563 average salary on 1,992 applications, while Google paid a $131,882 average salary on 2,517 applications.

The top prospective employers of foreign workers on H-1B visas provide information technology and other business services. Cognizant Tech Solutions, an IT consulting company based in New Jersey, had 21,459 applications approved in fiscal 2016, the most of any company. The next two top H-1B employers are companies based in India with offices in the U.S.: Infosys (12,780 applications approved) and Tata Consultancy (11,295).

Venture Dollars Up for Quarter, Down for Year

The optimist points to increased venture capital deals and dollar amounts in the second quarter of 2012 compared to the first three months of the year. The pessimist notes that both the second-quarter and first-half numbers for 2012 are lower than those figures in 2011.

The brief recap: January through June 2012 saw 1,707 deals worth $13.1 billion; for the same time period in 2011, it was 1,942 deals with a value of $14.7 billion.

Further numbers and analysis from one of the longest names/reports on record: The MoneyTree™ Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association based on data from Thomson Reuters.

The number of Early stage deals reached the highest quarterly total since Q1 2001, with $2.1 billion going into 410 deals, an 18 percent increase in dollars and a 28 percent increase in deals from the prior quarter. The Internet-specific sector also saw increases during the second quarter, rising 22 percent in dollars and 31 percent in deals from the prior quarter to $1.8 billion going into 261 deals in Q2.  The Life Sciences sector (Biotechnology and Medical Devices), however, experienced a decline in funding in the second quarter, dropping 9 percent in dollars and 6 percent in deals from the prior quarter to $1.4 billion going into 174 deals in Q2.

“The concentration of venture capital dollars in the hands of fewer firms will increasingly dictate the flow of investment,” said Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA. “Currently, this translates into more funding for IT start-ups and less capital available for life sciences and clean technology.  We hope to see this investment mix rebalance over time as the start-up ecosystem is better served with more diversity, not less.  Additionally, we continue to watch the early stage and first time financing numbers as they are critical to the U.S. innovation pipeline.  We are encouraged that these numbers were stronger this quarter and hope that this signals an ongoing commitment on behalf of venture firms to make these longer term, breakthrough investments.”

“If funding levels in the second half of the year remain consistent with the first half of the year, VC investing in 2012 will fall short of the nearly $30 billion invested in 2011 but will exceed the $23 billion invested in 2010,” remarked Tracy T. Lefteroff, global managing partner of the venture capital practice at PwC US.  “Software and Internet companies continue to be attractive industries for VCs since most of these companies tend to be capital efficient and don’t require large amounts of capital to operate.  VCs also find the potential for profitable liquidity events to be attractive for these companies.  On the contrary, given the regulatory challenges currently impacting the Life Sciences industry and the amount of capital required to fund these companies, it’s no surprise that investments in this industry have declined for the fourth consecutive quarter.”

The Software industry received the highest level of funding for all industries with $2.3 billion invested during the second quarter of 2012, which is the highest investment total for the sector since the second quarter of 2001.  This level of investment represents a 38 percent increase in dollars, compared to $1.7 billion invested in the first quarter.  The Software industry also had the most deals completed in Q2 with 290 rounds, which represents a 16 percent increase from the 251 rounds completed in the first quarter of 2012.

Life Sciences investing declined for the fourth consecutive quarter, most notably in the Biotechnology sector where $697 million went into 90 deals, representing the lowest quarterly total for the industry since the first quarter of 2003. 

Seed stage investments rose 33 percent in dollars and 15 percent in deals with $199 million invested into 63 deals in the second quarter. Early stage investments also rose, climbing 18 percent in dollars and 28 percent in deals with $2.1 billion going into 410 deals, the largest quarterly deal total since the first quarter of 2001.  

First-time financing (companies receiving venture capital for the first time) dollars increased 24 percent to $1.1 billion in Q2, and the number of deals rose 27 percent to 282 deals in the second quarter.