Mass tech layoffs have left hundreds of workers living in the US on temporary visas with little time to find another job, or they’ll have to leave the country. And many say they’re getting inadequate guidance from the companies that sponsored them.
The tech industry has long relied on the H-1B visa program to meet its need for workers in specialized fields such as computer science and engineering. Amazon, Lyft, Meta, Salesforce, Stripe and Twitter have sponsored at least 45,000 H-1B workers in the past three years, according to a Bloomberg analysis of data from US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Reports compiled by employees at Meta and Twitter indicate that the latest round of job cuts at those two companies alone has affected at least 350 immigrants. H-1B holders who become unemployed can remain in the US legally for only 60 days without finding new employers to sponsor them.
Many people with H-1B visas have been living in the US for years, awaiting permanent citizenship. Now they’re frantically searching for jobs, along with thousands of other tech workers in a newly competitive labor market. Some have mortgages, student loans and children in school.
At the same time, many major employers have frozen hiring, and recruiting is typically slower during the holidays. With deadlines looming, desperate job hunters have turned to their professional networks to find a way to stay. Some have made direct appeals on LinkedIn, generating threads with hundreds of responses, in