In a day and age when most of the salary data that comes out about foreign workers in the United States on H-1B visas doesn’t paint the program in the most positive light, a rudimentary analysis by a technology blog of Google’s California H-1B data for the last three years suggests that Google might be paying its H-1Bs more than a 20-percent premium over prevailing wages grabs headlines.
The average annual wage proposed by Google for H1-B hires in 2007 was $96,876, according to Labor Condition Application data, compared to an average prevailing wage of $79,777.
Companies are required by law to pay H-1B visa holders at or above the prevailing wage for their job roles. However, the prevailing wage minimums are set by the Foreign Labor Certification Data Center, which, according to many, drastically understates wages that major employers actually pay. Because of this, getting a feel for what the correct salary is for a skilled foreign worker–often with at least one advanced degree–is difficult.
Either way, Google is likely to get some good press for this, even if “look! We’re not underpaying our workers!” isn’t the kind of bragging they’d hoped to do.