US Tech Layoffs: Majority Telugus Struggle

In a distressing development, several techies in the United States are losing their jobs due to massive layoffs by the tech companies. Top companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft have announced layoffs as part of which thousands of Indian IT professionals are getting fired. Jan 2023 has been brutal as the layoffs were maximum. Several talented tech professionals have lost their jobs.

Of the total layoffs in the US, about 40 percent are Indian IT professionals and majority of them are said to be Telugu IT professionals. The techies who are working in the US on work visa are struggling to find new employment to stay in the US. Several laid off IT employees have formed WhatsApp groups to share information on new jobs.

According to a report published by The Washington Post, nearly 2,00,000 IT workers have been laid off since November last year. As per industry insiders, between 30 to 40 per cent of them are Indian IT professionals, a significant number of whom are on H-1B and L1 visas.

The laid off Indian IT professionals including Telugu IT professionals, who are on non-immigrant work visas like H-1B are L1, are now scrambling for options to stay in the US to find a new job in the stipulated few months time that they get under these foreign work visas after losing their jobs and change their visa status as well.

While H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations, L-1A and L-1B visas are available for temporary intracompany transferees who work in managerial positions or have specialised knowledge.

An Amazon staffer (name hidden) arrived in the US only three months ago. This week she was told that March 20 is her last working day. She is on H-1B visa and she has to find a new job within 60 days or else, she would be left with no other option but to head back to India.

Another woman (name hidden), is also IT professional on an H-1B visa, got laid off from Microsoft on January 18. She is a single mother. Her son is in High School Junior year, preparing for getting into college.”This situation is really hard on us,” she said.

Under the present circumstances, when all IT companies are on a firing spree, getting a job within that short period, they feel is next to impossible. Meanwhile, the layoffs are continuing unabatedly. So, there is a stiff competition among fired professionals to get the new job.

Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur and community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria said, “It is unfortunate that thousands of tech employees are facing layoffs, particularly those on H-1B visas who are facing additional challenges as they must find a new job and transfer their visa within 60 days of termination or risk leaving the country. This can have devastating consequences for families, including the sale of properties and disruptions to children’s education. It would be beneficial for tech companies to show special consideration for H-1B workers and extend their termination date by a few months, as the job market and recruitment process can be challenging.”

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