Some H1B visa applicants are looking for a chance to earn a higher salary in the US than they could in their home country. Depending on the country of origin, the H1B salary for a worker could be more in the US, but it is worthwhile to evaluate just how much US salaries are in each specialty occupation.
Of course, for some foreign nationals, they simply wish to work and live in the US for personal reasons or to give their families a chance to experience the diversity of culture. For those, they may just want to be able to pay their living expenses and enjoy the 3-6 years of H1B visa work and then return home.
Benchmarks for Comparison: H1B Salary and Cost of Living
When you compare differences in salary between the US and your own country, you must also consider the relative costs of living. In some areas, the US can be an expensive place to live due to housing costs, lack of good public transportation and high cost of consumer goods. Also, unless you have family or friends in the US, you won’t have that support network that can help alleviate some living expenses.
Some of the benchmarks that you may want to use include:
Salary Comparison: This should include any benefits, pensions and applicable tax rates.
Housing Costs: If you are large city in the US, this can be a significant expense, but you may also be able to share with others that you work with to reduce the expense.
Food and Personal Needs
Healthcare: If your employer offers health coverage in the US this can help to offset this area of expense.
Transportation: Unless you live in a city like New York, San Francisco or Chicago, you may find public transport difficult to rely on, so a car may be necessary.
Salary and Position Resources
If you want to compare what you can make in your own country to the salary in the US for a similar profession, there are a few resources available to give you an estimate. You can always search the Department of Labor’s website where they maintain a database of salary levels for H1B positions, primarily to assist US sponsors in setting compensation amounts. You can also search through payroll estimate portals such as this one http://var/www/fastuser/data/www/h1b.io.paycheck.in/main/salary/salary-checker-1#/ to give you an idea of how the salaries may differ, in either US dollars or your own currency.
Case Example: Indian IT Professional
Since the majority of H1B visas are obtained by IT specialists from India, it may be most useful for readers to compare the earning potential in the US to that in India. India is well known for its low pay scale, even for highly skilled IT professionals, which is a major factor motivating Indian IT workers to seek H1B visas.
A quick search reveals that in India an IT software engineer with three years of experience can earn between $US900 and $US1300 per month, and an IT manager with 6 years of experience can earn from $US1500 to $US2500 monthly. Those same positions in the US should pay between $US5000 to $US7000 per month, depending on the work location and prevailing wage. The added earning potential is potentially greater for entry level or technical workers.
The salary difference does make the US attractive to a foreign worker, but there is the trade-off of a higher cost of living and distance from family. If you have questions about H1B sponsors, salary levels and applying for positions, please contact us.
- December 24th, 2016