How Amazon’s mass layoffs will be a nightmare for India workers on H1-B visas



The nice layoff continues. After Twitter, Meta and different tech giants carried out mass layoffs within the final months of 2022, Amazon, the net big that employs 1.5 million individuals globally, introduced that after the mass layoffs in November — that they had lower over 10,000 jobs then — they will be letting go of one other 18,000 staff.

The newest step, thought of to be largest within the firm’s historical past, is a measure to avoid wasting prices. “Amazon has weathered uncertain and difficult economies in the past, and we will continue to do so,” CEO Andy Jassy mentioned in a word to staff that the corporate made public. “These changes will help us pursue our long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure.”

He added the layoffs will principally affect the corporate’s brick-and-mortar shops, which embrace Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go, and its PXT organizations, which deal with human assets and different capabilities.

And whereas dropping jobs is a painful affair for all, it’s an much more painful and traumatic expertise for Indians, who’re H-1B visa holders. For them, they haven’t not solely misplaced their jobs, but additionally face considerations over their immigration standing within the US.

Also learn: Twitter, Meta, Amazon and extra… Why are tech titans shedding staff?

Here’s a higher understanding of how Amazon’s layoffs will have an effect on H-1B visa holders.

Amazon layoffs and the immigrant workforce

It will not be confirmed which departments will see the layoffs, with staff affected by the cuts to be informed by 18 January. The cuts quantity to 6 per cent of Amazon’s roughly 300,000-person company workforce.

The layoffs will largely affect the corporate’s e-commerce and human-resources organisations and will be throughout the globe, together with Europe.

Chief Executive Jassy mentioned that this was a part of Amazon’s annual planning course of for 2023, nonetheless, that this yr’s evaluate has been harder given the unsure financial system and that they employed quickly during the last a number of years.

Amazon, identical to different tech firms within the US, has a giant immigrant workforce. In reality, in keeping with a 2018 report, greater than 70 per cent of tech workers in Silicon Valley have been born overseas.

This is the place the H1-B visa is available in. The H-1B visa is a generally used standing by many tech corporations within the United States to rent worldwide staff. It is a non-immigrant work visa that permits American firms to make use of overseas workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical experience.

In dire straits

Now, with the mass layoffs, a number of of those H-1B visa holders will be in a precarious state of affairs.

As one Twitter consumer, Shawn Wenzel, famous on Twitter earlier in the course of the earlier cuts, “These folks have 60 days to either find another company to sponsor them or leave the US.”

Basically, these workers have 60 days to search out a new job — or depart the nation. It’s a daunting activity as many have mortgages to pay, kids at school, and different life problems.

Also, the present work surroundings — recession-induced financial system — makes discovering a new job solely that rather more troublesome.

After the earlier cuts, a number of Amazon staff had written concerning the lack of their dream jobs, whereas looking for new alternatives within the United States.

Raj Kansagra, who is predicated in California, had written then that he was let go after six years at Amazon. On LinkedIn, he had written, “I’m actively seeking my next opportunity. I’m reaching out to my network for positions in Backend Software Engineering (Product/Infra). I have eight-plus years of experience, starting my career at Symantec and then becoming part of Amazon. I’m on an H1-B visa so time is of the essence to find something new.”

Another worker, Shivani Parate additionally shared comparable sentiments then. “It is super hard for all of us and I am still trying to navigate through this, while constrained by the timeline of being on a visa,” she had mentioned.

Also learn: How the US’ EAGLE act may benefit 1000’s of Indians

Options for laid off H1-B visa holders

Those who will be let off by Amazon will have 60 days — two months — to search out a new job and get their new employer to endorse their immigrant standing. Failing to search out new work inside these 60 days would imply the employee must depart the US after which attempt to discover new American employment from overseas.

However, there are some choices for these individuals. One factor such a employee may do in the event that they need to keep longer is to use to vary to B-1/B-2 customer standing. Such an utility would wish to be filed earlier than their 60-day interval of authorised keep expires.

Tanvi Dubey, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, informed The Outlook that submitting an I-539 utility can also be an choice to vary the standing from H-1B to B-2. She provides, “It is used by people currently in the United States in a non-immigrant status to change the classification for their status and/or extend their stay with their current status. This may be one of the options to get extension to transition out of the US but it will only be for six more months.”

Another choice is to get an H4 visa. This is just issued to dependents of H-1B visa holders. If one is a legally recognised partner of a legitimate H-1B holder, they’ll apply for this. The processing time for this could take anyplace between two and 12 months. However, the benefit of H4 is that one can work part-time or full-time whereas on this visa.

The final and most excessive choice is shifting again to India. While this will sound like a large determination, it’s one many are contemplating because the market appears to at this second be affected.

And if individuals thought this development would finish, most specialists predict extra cuts and layoffs in 2023.

With inputs from businesses

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