How Tech Layoffs by Twitter and Meta Impact H-1B Visa Holders

By | November 29, 2022

The San Jose software engineer was dismayed when she learned she was part of Twitter’s mass layoffs.

Born in India, she is in the United States on an H-1B visa, a special permit for skilled workers. Now the clock is ticking for her to find a new job to maintain her visa status.

“It’s like our whole lives are being destroyed,” Vidya said of herself and dozens of other H-1B visa holders who have also been laid off in recent weeks. The Chronicle is using a pseudonym for her and other workers laid off under its anonymous sources policy as they are concerned about her immigration status.

Silicon Valley companies rely on the H-1B program as a source of thousands of employees with specialized training in computer science and engineering.

Now, as layoffs mount across the industry, those laid off include dozens of H-1B visa holders who face an urgent situation. Under visa rules, they have 60 days to get a new, comparable job in a tight market where they’re competing against a flood of other displaced tech workers. Otherwise, they must leave the country or seek other solutions, such as trying to gain time by exchanging for other types of visas.

The layoffs highlight the precarious situation of H-1B workers, who could quickly lose their right to live here if their employer quits their job to cut costs.

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