Thousands of Indian IT professionals in the US, who lost their jobs due to recent layoffs at companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon, are now struggling to find new employment within the stipulated time after their work visas expire. Employment to stay in the country.
According to the Washington Post, 200,000 IT workers have been laid off since November of last year. Including some record numbers at companies such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon.
According to some industry insiders, 30 to 40 percent of them are Indian IT professionals, with a significant number on H-1B and L1 visas.
The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to hire foreign workers in specialized occupations that need theoretical or technical skills. Tech companies rely on it to hire hundreds of thousands of workers every year from countries like India and China.
L-1A and L-1B visas are available to temporary intracompany transferees. Who work in managerial positions or have specialized knowledge.
A significantly large number of Indian IT professionals. Who are on non-immigrant work visas such as H-1B L1, are now looking for options to stay. In the US to find new jobs within a few months of scheduled foreign work visas after losing their jobs and also changing their visa status. .
Amazon worker Geeta (name changed) came to the US just three months ago. He was told this week that March 20 is his last day of work.
The situation gets worse for those on H-1B visas as they have to find a new job within 60 days or else, they will have no option but to return to India.
In the present scenario, when all the IT companies are firing, getting a job in that short time, they feel it is impossible.
Sita (name changed), another IT professional on an H-1B visa, was laid off from Microsoft on January 18. She is a single mother. Her son is in his junior year of high school, preparing for college.
“This situation is really difficult for us,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that thousands of technology workers are facing layoffs, especially those on H-1B visas who face additional challenges because they must find a new job and relocate within 60 days of their visa suspension or risk leaving the country. There is,” said Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur and community leader Ajay Jain Vutoria.
“This can have devastating consequences for families, including property sales. And disruptions to children’s education. It would be beneficial for technology companies to show special consideration for H-1B workers. And extend their tenure by a few months as the job market continues. And the hiring process is challenging. Maybe,” he said.
Global Indian Technology Professionals Association (GITPRO) and Foundation for India. And Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) on Sunday launched a community-wide effort to help these IT professionals by connecting them. With job referrers and informants. FIIDS will work to influence policymakers. And decision makers at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
“With massive layoffs in the tech industry, January 2023 has been brutal for tech professionals. Many talented people have lost their jobs. Since the tech industry is dominated by Indian immigrants, they are the most affected,” Khande Rao Kand said.
Terminated H-1B holders must find an H-1B sponsoring job within 60 days or leave within 10 days of termination of status.
“This causes a huge disruption to the family life and children’s education of these tax-paying and contributing legal immigrants,” said Khande Rao Kand from FIIDS.
Mr. Vutoria said it would be beneficial to redesign the immigration process to better support H-1B workers and retain high-skilled talent in the United States.
In deep agony, laid-off Indian IT workers have created various WhatsApp groups to find solutions to the dire situation they are in.
In one of the WhatsApp groups, there are more than 800 unemployed Indian IT workers. Who are promoting among themselves the vacancies available in the country.
In another group, they are discussing various visa options, with some immigration attorneys. Who have volunteered to provide their consulting services during this time.
“These situations have had such a devastating effect on our migrants and are nerve wracking. We have lost a bit,” said Rakesh (name changed), who was fired from Microsoft on Thursday. He is in the US on an H-1B visa.
Adding to the woes of Indian IT professionals is Google’s latest decision to pause their green card processing. This is primarily because, at a time when they have laid off thousands of employees, they cannot be seen arguing before USCIS that they need a foreign IT professional as a permanent resident. Other companies are expected to follow suit