Thousands of Indian IT professionals jobless, scrambling for options in US
Recent layoffs at companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon resulted in thousands of Indian IT experts in the US losing their jobs. These individuals are now having difficulty finding new employment.
Following the termination of their employment to remain in the country, thousands of Indian IT professionals working in the US who lost their jobs as a result of recent layoffs at companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are now battling to find new employment within the time frame allowed by their work visas.
Since November of last year, approximately 200,000 IT employees have lost their jobs, including some record amounts at firms like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon.
Some industry insiders estimate that between 30 and 40% of them are Indian IT experts, many of whom are in possession of H-1B and L1 visas.
A non-immigrant visa called the H-1B permits US businesses to hire foreign nationals for specialised jobs that need for theoretical or technical competence. It is essential to the hiring of tens of thousands of workers each year from nations like China and India by technology businesses.
Temporary intracompany transferees in management or specialised jobs are eligible for L-1A and L-1B visas.
Indian IT Professionals
Many Indian IT professionals who are on non-immigrant work visas like the H-1B or L1 are currently looking for ways to stay in the US after losing their employment and changing their visa status in order to find a new job within the allotted few months time under these foreign work visas.
Only three months ago, Amazon employee Gita (name changed) came in the US. She was informed this week that March 20 will be her last day of employment.
The situation is getting worse for those on H-1B visas as they have to find a new job within 60 days or else, they would be left with no other option but to head back to India.
Under current circumstances, when all IT companies are on a firing spree, getting a job within that short period, they feel is next to impossible.
Sita (name changed), another IT professional on an H-1B visa, got laid off from Microsoft on January 18.
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She is a single mother. Her son is in High School Junior year, preparing for getting into college.
This situation is really hard on us, she said.
It is unfortunate that thousands of tech employees are facing layoffs, particularly those on H-1B visas who are facing additional challenges as they must find a new job and transfer their visa within 60 days of termination or risk leaving the country, Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur and community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria said.
This can have devastating consequences for families, including the sale of properties and disruptions to children’s education. It would be beneficial for tech companies to show special consideration for H-1B workers and extend their termination date by a few months, as the job market and recruitment process can be challenging, 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 try and help these IT professionals by connecting job seekers to job referrers and informers. FIIDS will work on efforts to influence policymakers and decision-makers of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
With massive layoffs in the tech industry, January 2023 has been brutal for tech professionals. Many talented folks lost their jobs. As the tech industry is dominated by Indian immigrants, they are the highest to get impacted,” Khande Rao Kand said.
The laid-off H-1B holders need to find an H-1B sponsoring job in 60 days or leave within 10 days after becoming out of status.
“This has a huge disruption on the family lives and children’s education etc on this tax-paying and contributing legal immigrant, Khande Rao Kand from FIIDS said. Bhutoria said it would be beneficial for the immigration process to be redesigned to better support H-1B workers and retain highly skilled talent in the US.
In deep distress, the fired Indian IT workers have formed various WhatsApp groups to find ways to have a solution to the terrible situation they are in.
In one of the WhatsApp groups, there are more than 800 jobless Indian IT workers who are circulating among themselves vacancies appearing in the country.
In another group, they have been discussing various visa options, with some immigration attorneys who have volunteered to offer their consultancy services during this time.
These circumstances have such a devastating effect on us immigrants and are nerve-wracking. We are kinda lost, said Rakesh (name changed) was laid off from Microsoft on Thursday. He is in the US on an H-1B visa.
Adding to the miseries of Indian IT professionals is the latest decision of Google that they are pausing their Green Card processing. This is primarily because, at a time when they have fired thousands of employees, they cannot be seen arguing before the USCIS that they need a foreign IT professional as a permanent resident. Other companies are expected to follow the same.