The US tech industry is laying off thousands of Indian workers
US: Several Indians working on visas such as the H-1B have been laid off across the technology industry, including at Twitter, Meta, and Amazon. As workers struggle to find new jobs in the United States, California-based journalist Savita Patel brings their stories to light.
Earlier this month, Indian engineer Surbhi Gupta was laid off by Meta, where she had been working since 2009. The work I was doing at the time was going well, she says.
As a result of the layoffs, 11,000 Meta employees were laid off, making it the largest mass layoff in the company’s history.
The night of the incident, nobody slept,” says Ms. Gupta. “I was unable to access my computer or the gym at work. It was like a breakup,” she says.
LinkedIn posts from laid-off Amazon employees were the first sign of job cuts.
“It pains me, Dave Limp, that we’re losing talented Amazonians from the devices and services group,” Limp said.
Many tech companies, from Twitter to Meta to Coinbase to Snap, have announced that workers are looking for new jobs.
The Layoffs.fyi website, which tracks tech job cuts worldwide, reports the loss of more than 120,000 jobs worldwide.
There are common themes among firms when it comes to laying off employees.
With our lives moving online during the pandemic, technology companies enjoyed a boom in their businesses.
During the first nine months of this year, Meta hired more than 15,000 people.
The executives who announced the cuts now say they made a mistake.
There is a good chance that Indians will recognize Ms. Gupta. She was recently featured in the Netflix show Indian Matchmaking after winning the 2018 Miss Bharat-California contest.
Thousands of skilled and educated immigrants have been laid off this month by US tech companies.
HI-B visas allow them to work in the US. This is a non-immigrant visa that lets firms hire foreigners for positions that they can’t fill with American workers for up to six years.
Furthermore, it allows holders to purchase property in the US and apply for permanent residency.
It took her “over 15 years” to build a life in the US, says Ms. Gupta.
To keep her visa, she must find a new job.
The Layoffs.fyi website tracks US tech job cuts and reports that more than 120,000 workers have been laid off worldwide.
” It has particularly hurt the Indian community,” says Swati Khandelwal, an immigration attorney in San Jose.
The number of consultation requests increased,” she says. Those not laid off the fear that they may be fired in the future.
As a result of layoffs, Indian tech workers must also look for new employment and employers willing to support their legal expenses and continue their work.
The remedy is to leave the country and return as soon as the paperwork is complete if a new employer is unable to transfer your visa petition within 60 days, says Ms. Khandelwal.
There aren’t many appointments in consulates for visa stamping, so people might get stuck in India.” she says.
Some US consulates in India are having to wait 800 days for a visa appointment.
It is for this reason that Indian workers were surprised by the layoffs.
According to Sowmya Iyer, lead product designer at Lyft, the company’s fiscal health was maintained internally by a team.
The company laid off hundreds of employees this month, including Ms. Iyer. Our expectations hadn’t been met,” she says.
It feels like a “tech pandemic,” she says about the mass layoffs. The same day as our friend’s wife lost her job, everyone is reaching out to express their condolences.”
It appears that Ms. Iyer has yet to tell her parents in Gujarat, a western Indian state, that she has been laid off because she still has student loans to pay.
Ms. Iyer, who is in the US on an O-1 visa, says she is confident that she will find a job in the United States.
The O-1 visa allows her to stay on for 60 days after terminating any job despite her degrees from prestigious design schools in India and the US.
A buffer exists before the 60-day visa clock starts under the WARN Act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act). During a mass layoff, employers must provide affected employees with a 60-day notice.
She says her former employers gave her a month’s notice to ensure her status, which gives her three months to find employment.
Even 90 days is a tight deadline for many Indians, upending their plans. Thousands of dollars in student loans must be repaid, while others have families to support.
The master’s program at New York University was paid for by a loan taken by Naman Kapoor.
Seven weeks after being hired as an engineer by Meta after multiple rounds of interviews, he was laid off. On 9 November, he said, he received an email terminating his employment.
According to him, US education entails work experience. In New York, studying is expensive. I had to work to support myself.”
An F-1 (OPT) visa allows Mr. Kapoor to stay in the US for up to 90 days while unemployed.
Instead of severance pay, Meta offered Mr. Kapoor four months’ pay. I need to find a new job within three months or I’m going back to school!”
As a result of this environment, Ms. Gupta believes it will be hard for her to find another job. As the holidays approach, hiring will be slow.”
Ms. Khandelwal emphasizes the importance of community support following the layoffs. Information and referrals for prospects have been spread online by colleagues and employers.
Abhishek Gutgutia, a tech worker based in the Bay Area, created Zeno, a platform designed to assist impacted workers in finding jobs. So far, 15,000 people have visited it.”
It has been viewed nearly 600,000 times since Mr. Gutgutia posted it on LinkedIn. In addition, several immigration attorneys have volunteered their services, along with about 100 candidates, 25 companies, and 30 mentors.”
Putting together a “Meta Alumni guide” for those whose lives changed overnight led Vidya Srinivasan, a Meta employee, to experience a “heart-warming outpouring of support”. Over a million people viewed her online posts, she says.
As Indian immigrant workers wait for their next job, they remain on tenterhooks.
She says, “I’m tired of being tested.” She asks, “How can I get stronger?”