Low salaries for low skills
Center For Immigration Studies
Very few H-1B workers are highly-skilled. Employers who used the Department of Labors skill-based prevailing wage system classified most workers (56 percent) as being at the lowest skill level (Level I) as did most State Employment Security Agency (SESA) wage determinations (57 percent). This suggests that most H-1B computer workers are low-skilled workers who make no special contribution to the American economy, or that employers are deliberately understating workers skills in order to justify paying them lower salaries.
According to the applications filed in 2005, it appears that employers may be significantly understating what U.S. computer workers are earning in order to justify paying low wages to H-1B guestworkers in those occupations. In FY 2005, H-1B employer prevailing wage claims averaged $16,000 below the median wage for U.S. computer workers in the same location and occupation.
90 percent of H-1B employer prevailing wage claims for programming occupations were below the median U.S. wage for the same occupation and location, with 62 percent of the wage claims in the bottom 25th percentile of U.S. wages.
While higher than the prevailing wage claims, the actual wages reported for H-1B workers were significantly less than those of their American counterparts. Wages for H-1B workers averaged $12,000 below the median wage for U.S. workers in the same occupation and location.
The reported wages for 84 percent of H-1B workers were below the median U.S. wage; 51 percent were in the bottom 25th percentile of U.S. wages. Many employers make prevailing wage claims using wage sources that are not valid under the law. The Department of Labor routinely approves prevailing wage claims based on these invalid sources.