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When he was fired by Google last month, Jingjing Tan began to worry about his German Shepherd dog weighing more than 30 kg.
As a foreigner living in the US on a temporary work visa, if he cannot find a job within 60 days, Tan fears he may have to return to his home country of China. In the country’s major cities, most tech companies do not allow large dogs to be brought to the office.
In addition, Tan worries about possibly having to sell or rent the home she bought in the San Francisco Bay area last year. Tan’s husband, who is also in the US on an H1B visa and works in the technology industry, is still working, but the two can’t help but worry about his job.
A wave of mass layoffs has spread across the US tech sector, with more than 257,000 job cuts since last year. “We live in anxiety every day,” Tan told the Wall Street Journal.
Leena Sujan, who runs a tech-focused recruitment agency, said that with the decline of the tech industry, laid-off foreign workers are in particularly bad shape when it’s time to rush. find a new job. Many of the tech companies she works with say they don’t want to continue hiring whether the candidate has an H1B visa or not.
The number of tech jobs in the US fell by 32,000 last month, according to information technology industry trade group CompTIA. CompTIA said there were 269,000 tech job postings in January, down from a record high of 394,000 in March last year.
Some industry experts estimate tens of thousands of people living and working in the US on temporary visas have been affected. Foreign-born workers, including green card holders, naturalized citizens and temporary work visa holders, account for nearly a quarter of total employment in science and technology sectors. and engineering, according to 2019 estimates by the American Immigration Council, up from 16% in 2000.
If workers with an H1B visa cannot find a new job within a few weeks or apply to switch to another visa, they will have to leave the United States. In other cases, people laid off while traveling or working outside the United States are now stranded abroad because their work visas are no longer valid for re-entry.
This group includes people who have been in the US for decades to recent graduates like Sushant Arora – who received his master’s degree in project management in the US in 2021. He was later accepted into a company data analytics company in Boston but was fired last month.
The Indian man said that the 60-day period to find a new job is too short because in addition to finding the right company, candidates also have to go through many different rounds such as skills tests and interview rounds.
Since being fired, he is estimated to have submitted 500-600 job applications but only 3 places called for interviews. “It’s like a nightmare. With the current job market, I will do any job because I can’t be picky” shared Aora.
Meanwhile, Neuman Vong, who worked for Twitter until December 2022 on a temporary work visa for Australian citizens, was on holiday in Malaysia when he heard the news of his dismissal.
To avoid complications, he stayed in his native Australia. His neighbor in Los Angeles had to occasionally drive his car so it wouldn’t have a dead battery. A friend of his sometimes stops by his apartment to water his plants.
As a temporary visa worker, Vong says he always feels pressured to work hard and prove his worth. “I have worked hard to stay in the US for the past decade. California is my home, all my friends are there” said Vong.
Hiba Mona Anver, a partner at law firm Erickson Immigration Group, said the 60-day extension period that foreign workers must find new jobs does not apply to those laid off while abroad. According to Anver, if an employee on a temporary work visa is terminated while abroad, that visa is no longer valid for re-entry unless he or she finds another job in the U.S. in that country.
Sophie Alcorn, founder of a Silicon Valley-based law firm, said some firms have extended the termination dates of foreign employees to try to give them more opportunities to find work. new. In most cases, however, companies have very little obligation to such workers. Alcorn says that in the case of the H1B, the most common temporary work visa for tech workers today, the only legal requirement companies have to make is to notify the federal government of the terminate the employee’s employment contract and pay for their flight home.
Alcorn said: “Companies are not allowed to consider an employee’s hometown when determining who will be laid off. That is arbitrary. Anyone can be fired“.
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