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Do banks employ H1B visa holders on low salaries?

If there's a topic guaranteed to invoke the wrath of anyone who thinks that underemployed Americans have lost jobs to underpaid migrants, it's H1B visas. Long-targeted by Trump as the scourge of the U.S. labor market, the issuance of new H1B visas was suspended in late June, ostensibly as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. However, workers with visas that are being renewed of that were approved prior to the hiatus are still lined up to start work at major banks later this year. Some are on comparatively low salaries. 

Goldman Sachs, for example, has around 50 analysts with H1B visas on salaries of under $60k starting at its offices at Dallas and Salt Lake City in the coming months. Over half are renewals that are paid $50k or less. JPMorgan has an H1B holding hedge fund analyst starting in Boston on a salary of $60k. Morgan Stanley has an associate based in Maryland on $66k.

While $50k-$60k may sound generous given that analysts and associates are entry-level positions in the banking hierarchy, it seems less lavish compared to the going rate for a first year front office investment banking analyst on Wall Street of $85k to $95k. On this basis, H1B visa holders might seem underpaid.

Needless to say, however, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Boston and Maryland aren't Wall Street and banks don't typically locate their highest paid jobs there. Goldman Sachs, for example, employs many of the people working for its retail bank, Marcus, in Dallas and Salt Lake City, along with technologists and back and middle office employees who work for its 'federation.' Whether they're hired on H1B visas or not, these staff are inevitably less well remunerated: Payscale puts the average operations analyst salary at Goldman Sachs in Dallas $40k to $67k. Given that analysts can have varying levels of experience, the range is likely the result of seniority rather than nationality.

By comparison, when Goldman hires H1B visa holders in New York City, it generally pays them the going rate. This year alone, the firm has applied for around 55 H1B visas for first year analysts in NYC, at the standard salary of $85k. JPMorgan's applied for multiple H1B visas for investment banking division analysts on the same rate, plus a handful on salaries of $90k.

This doesn't mean the H1B visa system is never 'abused' by the banking industry. For the most part, however, banks use H1B visas to access an overseas talent pool which is paid a fair rate. H1B visa holders aren't undercutting U.S. bankers; they're working as peers alongside them.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available. Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

Photo by Daniel H. Tong on Unsplash

 

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
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  • Ga
    Gary
    9 October 2020

    SO INDIAN IMPORTS IS THE PROBLEM?.. AND CHINA CHEAP LABOR FORCE?... OUTSOURCING??..SO WHAT ARE YOU VOTING FOR? Can anyone of you cry babies explain why your GOVERNMENT OUTSOURCING is allowed?... could it be CORPORATE AMERICA HAS THE REAL POWER and your CONGRESS PERSON is all CORRUPTED? COULD IT BE?

  • Ga
    Gary
    9 October 2020

    AM I hearing you guys correctly...CONGRESS IS CORRUPTED BY LOBBYIST AND SPECIAL INTERESTS ORGANIZATIONS?.. Is that what I am hearing from these comments. AND WHY DO YOU VOTE?..Are maybe these are the cry baby caucasians blaming their government for their inability to keep up with the JONES'S ?Again if so WHY DO YOU VOTE FOR YOUR SENATOR IF YOUR #1 issue is IGNORED?

  • Am
    America First
    29 July 2020

    The Hartford (CT) Insurance sent my division off to India (as did the other corporations in the state and across the US) then forced staff over age 50 to leave or lose their retirement medical benefits. Loads of H-1bs continue to be added to divisions as American citizens are fired.

    It’s unfortunately what the future holds for the US with all the outsourcing of work/jobs to Indian nationals!

    American citizens are, and have been, losing their jobs, security and country to foreign visa guest workers, illegals and refugees!

    There is not now, nor has there ever been, a shortage of qualified American citizen workers!

  • Mi
    Michael Emmons
    28 July 2020

    H1b is just the tip of the iceberg.

    we were ordered by corp mgmt to train our "L-1b intra-company transfer" visa holders from Tata India; in Lake Mary, FL. There are ZERO salary rules and ZERO quantity limits on L-1bs. We learned our 'trainees' were making $3K/month but $2000 of that was paid as NON-taxable expenses.

    Now OPT (Optional Practical Training) has taken over. Again, no salary rules or quantity limits on OPT either. OPT usage has ballooned recently. https://www.mercurynews.com...

  • Ma
    Mary Flynn
    28 July 2020

    These jobs should go to US kids. They are smart, hardworking and can be trained. This is one of the many root causes of economic inequality in this country that entry level good jobs are being given away

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