H-1B visa success of Indian immigrants is due to their academic achievements

Employment based immigration, for instance, H-1B and L1 visas, are the most preferred route to obtain lawful permanent residency or the green cards.  Both these visas require good academic standing.

According to the most recent data (2015) collected by the US Census Bureau and the Department of Homeland Security’s Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, here are some of the highlights of the community.

Geographical Distribution

From 2011 until 2015, more than 50 percent of the immigrants from India chose five states to live: California (20 percent), New Jersey (11 percent), Texas (9 percent), New York (7 percent), and Illinois (7 percent). County-wise the four most popular among Indians were Santa Clara County in California, Middlesex County in New Jersey, Cook County in Illinois, and Alameda County in California. About 15 percent of the Indian population in the US resides in these four counties.

As for the metropolitan areas, in 2011-15, most of the immigrants from India lived in greater New York, Chicago, San Jose, and San Francisco. One in every three Indians living in the US lived in one of these four metro areas.

English Language Proficiency

Overall, Indians were more proficient in English than other immigrant communities. In 2015, a little more than one fourth of Indian immigrants (ages 5 and over) mentioned less than “very well” during the research by US Census Bureau. However, half of the other immigrants reported limited English proficiency.

About 11 percent of the Indian immigrants said they speak only English at home. Others languages spoken at home include Hindi (25 percent), Telugu (13 percent), Gujarati (12 percent), Tamil (9 percent), and Punjabi (8 percent).

Age, Education, and Employment

Immigrants from India were younger (median age 39 years) than other foreign-born population (median age 44 years) but older than the US-born (median age 36 years).

Indian immigrants are significantly more educated than both foreign-born and US-born populations. In 2015, about 77 percent of the immigrants from India (age 25 and over) had received a bachelor’s degree or higher. In comparison, overall, only 29 percent of immigrants and 31 percent of native-born adults were equipped with a bachelor’s or higher degree.  “Notably, among college-educated Indian immigrants, more than half had an advanced degree,” the Migration Policy Institute reported.

This is also the reason for Indians getting the maximum H-1B visas. More than half of the immigrants from India enter the US as students or H-1B workers. Both these routes require a minimum college degree and therefore all those who enter the country are well-versed academically. It is no surprise that in FY 2016, about 74 percent of the H-1B visas (new and continuing employment) were issued to Indians. About 16 percent of all international students in the US in the year 2015-16 were Indians. They were the second largest group of international students after Chinese.

Income and Poverty

As most of the immigrants from India have higher degrees, their median household income is much higher than both foreign-born and US-born people. Median income of Indian immigrants is $107,000, whereas that of other immigrants is $51,000 and US-born households is $56,000.

Immigration and Naturalization

About 45 percent of the immigrants from India were naturalized US citizen. In comparison, about 48 percent of total foreign-born individuals were naturalized.

In FY 2015, immigrants from India were the third largest group of new lawful permanent residents (6 percent). Majority of these new green card holders used the employment pathway to obtain permanent residency.


In 2011-15 there were about 3.9 million individuals who were either India-born or had Indian ancestry, according to the US Census Bureau data.





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