Updated Apr 4, 2018 - Politics & Policy

The cities with the most H-1B workers

H-1B high skilled visas — the most popular U.S. temporary work visa — are often associated with high level jobs in Silicon Valley tech companies. But College Station, Texas has the highest number of H-1B visa approvals per 100 workers over the past few years, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center of data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Data: Pew Research Center; Table: Axios Visuals
Data: Pew Research Center; Table: Axios Visuals

Between the lines: Companies located on the East Coast of the U.S. and in Texas actually use the H-1B visas far more than Silicon Valley companies. The large IT company Cognizant is located in College Station, and it files the ninth largest number of Labor Condition Applications (LCA), which are required when hiring workers on an H-1B visa.

Where it stands: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting this year's petitions for H-1B visas on Monday.

Top 10 metropolitan areas for approved H-1B visas:

  1. New York City: 247,900
  2. Dallas: 74,000
  3. D.C.: 64,800
  4. Boston: 38,300
  5. College Station: 37,800
  6. Philadelphia: 34,300
  7. Chicago: 29,900
  8. Houston: 28,900
  9. Atlanta: 28,500
  10. San Jose: 22,200

Best salaries:

  • The area of Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT has the highest average salary for H-1B workers at $100,200, which Neil Ruiz, one of the study's authors, speculated could be due to its proximity to New York and the financial district.
  • The Seattle area comes in second, which is likely due to both Amazon and Microsoft being headquartered there. An earlier study by Pew Research showed that both of these companies were on the higher end for paying H-1B workers.
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA, the area closest to Silicon Valley, comes in 12th for highest salaries with the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward areas to the north of Silicon Valley coming in 6th.

U.S. degrees: There have been some efforts to retain foreign students who attend American colleges and universities, Pew Research points out. San Diego had the highest percentage of H-1B workers with U.S. degrees at 28%, followed by Gainesville, FL and Oklahoma City, OK (27%); An Arbor, MI (25%) and Greensboro, NC (24%).

Go deeper: Pew Research's full study.

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