Most H-1B employers use the program to pay migrant workers well below market wages: report

WASHINGTON: Most H-1B employers, including major US tech companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft, use the program to pay migrant workers well below market wages, according to a new report.

Among the top 30 H-1B employers are the top US firms. USA, including Amazon, Microsoft, Walmart , Google, Apple and Facebook. They all take advantage of the program's rules to legally pay many of their H-1B workers below the local median wage for the jobs they occupy, the report released by the Institute for Economic Policy said.

Written by Daniel Costa and Ron Hira, the report titled H-1B Visas and Existing Salary Levels says that 60 percent of H-1B positions certified by the United States Department of Labor (DOL) have very low salary levels assigned by below the local average wage. for occupation

While the H-1B program rules allow it, DOL has the authority to change it, but it has not, he said.

While more than 53,000 employers used the H-1B program in 2019, the top 30 H-1B employers accounted for more than one in four of the 389,000 H-1B applications approved by U.S. citizens and in 2019, he said.

Half of the top 30 H-1B employers use an outsourcing business model to staff third-party clients, rather than hiring H-1B workers directly to meet a special need at the company applying for the visa, according to the report. .

H-1B is a temporary nonimmigrant work visa that allows U.S. employers to hire college-educated migrant workers as well as fashion models from abroad. About 500,000 migrant workers are employed in the United States in H-1B state.

The report alleged that the major US-based technology companies. USA Who hire H-1B workers directly, rather than hiring them with outside employers, had a significant portion of their certified H-1B positions assigned as Level 1 or Level 2, the two lowest salary levels in fiscal year 2019, which they are below the local average salary.

So far, much of the public discourse and proposals to reform the H-1B have focused on rules that would limit the practices of these outsourcing companies, the report said.

But research reveals that many companies that directly employ H-1B workers, including some of the biggest names in the tech industry, such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Qualcomm, Salesforce, and Uber, pay a large chunk. of your H-1B workers. at one of the two lowest salary levels, Level 1 or Level 2.

In addition, these direct hire companies also hire many H-1B workers on contract through outsourcing companies, he added.

Microsoft, the seventh largest H-1B employer in 2019, assigned one-third (35 percent) of their jobs in Work Conditions Applications (LCA) as Tier 1 and two-fifths (42 percent) as Tier 2. Overall, Microsoft assigned more than three-quarters (77 percent) of their H-1B positions as Level 1 or Level 2, a salary level below the local median salary.

Microsoft assigned just 18 percent of their jobs as Level 3 (median) salary, and a mere three percent as Level 4, the only salary level above the median.

Amazon, which appears twice in the top 30 for H-1B, as Services (No. 4 among H-1B's largest employers) and Amazon Web Services (No. 27), also assigned the vast majority of their H-1B positions at one of the two lowest salary levels.

According to the report, Services assigned 34 percent of its H-1B positions as Level 1 and 51 percent as Level 2, for a total of 86 percent of all certified positions.

Amazon Web Services assigned 47 percent of its H-1B workers as Tier 1 and 36 percent as Tier 2. Combined, Services and Amazon Web Services had 12,428 certified Tier 1 or 2 positions, for a total of 85 per cent certified at a salary level below the median. Only one in eight (1,684) was certified at the 50th percentile or higher (Level 3 or Level 4), he said.

Apple, eleventh on the list, assigned 558 of its H-1B positions (two percent) as Level 1 and a third (32 percent) as Level 2, for a combined total of 34 percent at Levels 1 and 2. Apple assigned 32 percent as Tier 3 and 34 percent as Tier 4.

Ranked as the fifth-largest H-1B employer, Google had 9,085 DOL-certified H-1B positions in fiscal year 2019. It assigned less than 1% of its H-1B jobs certified as Level 1 and 54% as Level 2. Only 37 percent of Google's jobs were certified at the median salary or above, according to the report.

Facebook assigned only one position as Level 1 and 10 percent of its 6,118 total H-1B positions as Level 2. Twenty-five percent were certified at Level 3 and 16 percent at Level 4. Almost half (49 percent) of Facebook's H-1B positions were certified at a salary set by an alternative salary survey, making it difficult to assess their H-1B salary distribution, according to the report.

Uber, the 29th H-1B employer in 2019, had 5,708 DOL-certified H-1B jobs. Less than one percent were assigned as Level 1 and slightly more than half (53 percent) as Level 2. A little more than a third were assigned as Level 3 and 13 percent as Level 4.

While Uber had 5,708 DOL-certified H-1B positions and hired 1,160 H-1B workers in 2019, in the same year, it made headlines by laying off 400 employees, including 125 software engineers, nearly half of whom were engineers. senior software. The company was hiring H-1B workers for the same types of positions for which it was conducting mass layoffs, according to the report.

The report states that the top 30 H-1B employers are in fact hiring H-1B workers to fill a large number of routine jobs (Levels 1 and 2) that require relatively little experience and ordinary skills.