The recent wave of tech layoffs has caused a desperate scramble for foreign workers to secure new employment within 60 days before being forced to leave the United States. H-1B visa holders, like Mayur Oza, a technical program manager at Google, are particularly vulnerable as they are at risk of losing their legal status to work in the U.S. if they do not find a new job within 60 days of being laid off.
“Being on H-1B I am always in fear of what will happen in future,” Oza said in a Fortune article.
Large tech companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta have all implemented significant job cuts in recent months as a cost-saving measure. In the first few weeks of 2023 alone, at least 174 tech companies have cut close to 60,000 jobs. Foreign workers on H-1B visas, which allow them to work for U.S.-based employers for three years at first, with an option for an extension, are among those affected.
Immigration lawyer Tahmina Watson notes that not only are tech companies laying off workers in unprecedented numbers, but they are also implementing hiring freezes, making it even more difficult for immigrant workers to find alternative employment. “The magnitude of the layoffs is of the likes I have never seen before,” Watson shared with Fortune.
Furthermore, the H-1B visa process is complex and time-consuming, which reduces the amount of time H-1B visa holders have to find a new job after being laid off. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services also takes time to process any new visa requests.
As a result, many H-1B visa holders are opting to apply for a green card, which would give them more certainty about their future and remove their dependency on their job to retain U.S. residency. However, this process can take up to a year and may be interrupted by a layoff.
Google, like many other tech companies, has offered support to its laid-off employees in the form of help with immigration problems and job search. However, the situation remains dire for many H-1B visa holders as they are forced to navigate a difficult job market while also trying to secure their legal status in the U.S.
As the job market becomes increasingly competitive for foreign workers on H-1B visas, it’s important to have the guidance and representation of a reputable immigration law firm. At Shepelsky Law, we understand the unique challenges and stress that come with finding new employment on a tight deadline, especially in the current economic climate. Our team of experienced attorneys will work closely with you to understand your individual situation and provide personalized support throughout the job search and visa renewal process. We will help you navigate the complex regulations and requirements surrounding H-1B visas, and work tirelessly to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. Whether you’re a tech worker who’s recently been laid off, or an employer looking to sponsor a highly-skilled foreign professional, Shepelsky Law is here to help.