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 professionals, many of whom are in possession of H-1B and L1 visas.
A non-immigrant visa called the H-1B allows US companies to employ foreign citizens for specialized jobs that need 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 companies.
L-1A and L-1B visas are available for temporary intra-company 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 like H-1B are L1, are now scrambling for options to stay in the US to find a new job in the stipulated few months time that they get under these foreign work visas after losing their jobs and change their visa status as well.
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.
“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.
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).
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.
The most recent Google announcement to pause their Green Card procedure just makes things worse for Indian IT professionals. This is primarily due to the fact that they cannot be seen arguing before the USCIS that they require a foreign IT professional as a permanent resident at a time when they have sacked thousands of people. It is anticipated that other businesses would do the same.