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Hit by layoffs, thousands of Indian IT professionals struggle to stay in the US

Hit by layoffs, thousands of Indian IT professionals struggle to stay in the US

Nearly 200,000 IT workers have lost their jobs since last November, reports suggest. (Representative)

washington:

Thousands of Indian IT professionals in the US, who lost their jobs due to the recent spate of layoffs at companies such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon, are now struggling to find a new job within the period stipulated in their work visas after the end of their work to stay in the country.

According to The Washington Post, nearly 200,000 IT workers have been laid off since last November, including some record numbers at companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon.

According to some industry experts, between 30 to 40 percent of them are Indian IT professionals, a significant number of whom hold H-1B and L1 visas.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialized occupations that require theoretical or technical knowledge. Tech companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees every year in countries like India and China.

The L-1A and L-1B visas are available for temporary intra-company transfers 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 and L1, are now scrambling for options to stay in the US to find a new job in the stipulated months they get these visas. work foreigners after losing their jobs and also changing their visa status.

Amazon employee Gita (name changed) arrived in the US just three months ago. This week, she was informed that March 20 is her last working day.

The situation is getting worse for those with H-1B visas as they need to find a new job within 60 days otherwise they would have no option but to go back to India.

In the present circumstances, when all IT companies are on the run, getting a job in this short period they feel is almost impossible.

Sita (name changed), another IT professional with an H-1B visa, was fired from Microsoft on Jan. 18. She is a single mother. Her son is in his freshman year of high school, getting ready to go to college.

“This situation is really difficult for us,” she said.

“It is unfortunate that thousands of tech workers are facing layoffs, particularly those with H-1B visas who face additional challenges as they need to find a new job and transfer their visa within 60 days of termination or risk leaving the country. ”, said Silicon Valley. said businessman and community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria.

“This can have devastating consequences for families, including property sales and disruptions to children’s education. and the recruiting process can be challenging,” he said.

The Global Association of Technology Professionals of India (GITPRO) and the Foundation for Indian and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) on Sunday launched a community-wide effort to try to help these IT professionals by connecting job seekers with references and informants. FIIDS will work on efforts to influence US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policymakers and decision makers.

“With mass layoffs in the tech industry, January 2023 was brutal for tech professionals. Many talented people lost their jobs. As the tech industry is dominated by Indian immigrants, they are the hardest hit,” said Khande Rao Kand.

Dismissed H-1B holders must find an H-1B sponsorship job within 60 days or leave within 10 days of losing status.

“This has a big disruption in the family life and raising children etc. of this legal immigrant who pays taxes and contributes,” said Khande Rao Kand of FIIDS.

Mr. 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 laid-off Indian IT workers have formed various WhatsApp groups to find ways to find a solution to the dire situation they find themselves in.

In one of the WhatsApp groups, there are more than 800 unemployed Indian IT workers who are circulating among themselves the vacancies that are emerging in the country.

In another group, they discussed various visa options, with some immigration attorneys who offered to offer their consulting services during this time.

“These circumstances have such a devastating effect on us immigrants and they are stressful. We are kind of lost,” said Rakesh (name changed) who was fired from Microsoft on Thursday. He is in the US on an H-1B visa.

Adding to the misery of Indian IT professionals is Google’s latest decision that they are pausing Green Card processing. This is mainly because, at a time when they have laid off 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 suit.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)

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