Tech Layoffs Affecting Your H-1B Status? You're Not Alone, But There's Help

The H-1B visa is for foreign workers in specialty occupations, and the technology field clearly meets this definition. It’s not surprising that an overwhelming majority of these visas are given to those employed in the tech industry. Yet, this leaves the industry — and thousands of workers — prone to serious problems when the market causes substantial layoffs. That’s what is happening now, and if you’re one of the visa holders facing job loss, you’re not alone. The good news is that USCIS recognizes this is a mass issue, and they’re offering you hope.

What’s Going on in the Tech World?

Up until recently, tech giants like Meta, Google, and Amazon have employed a significant portion of the industry. During the pandemic, these numbers were even higher as people sought to complete everything virtually.

But now that we’re back to our “new normal,” the companies are cutting back on their workforce, leaving thousands of workers out of a job. Since the first to go are often those on H-1B visas, foreign workers are understandably scared.

When layoffs happen, H-1B beneficiaries have 60 days to find a new job willing to sponsor their visa. If they’re unable to do this successfully, they and their families must return to their home countries.

With so many people looking for work in the same field, many H-1B tech holders resort to searching for jobs outside their area of expertise, applying for a different work visa category, or attempting to obtain a green card.

The Numbers Continue to Grow

Tech companies have relied on H-1B foreign workers for years to fill the gaps in their specialty occupation openings. But in 2022, over 144,000 people in the tech industry faced layoffs. Out of this number, a speculated 10-30% were H-1B holders.

Two companies with the highest number of H-1B sponsors in 2021, Amazon and Meta, were those responsible for the most layoffs in 2022. 

Obtaining a sponsor and H-1B visa is already challenging. With so many people applying for limited job openings now, it will become even more of an obstacle for H-1B holders. By law, employers must hire qualified US nationals before foreign workers, putting these visa holders even further behind on the list of potential candidates for every job they apply for.

But the clock is ticking, and if you’re in this boat, you have 60 days (or less) to find new work. What can you do?

Options for H-1B Holders Out of Work

You and your family have built a life in the US, and you weren’t expecting to leave so soon. The good news is that you have options.

Your first step must be to contact your legal expert, like Visa2US, to make sure you’re following all the terms of your H-1B contract. You may need to notify USCIS of your layoff, but your grace period of 60 days goes into effect automatically.

Next, if you’re struggling over the first few days to find a new job sponsor, consider hiring a recruiter. These professionals know which companies are in the market for foreign workers and can connect you to potential jobs faster than you’d be able to manage on your own.

You may need to move out of the tech industry for a while until you find a new opening. If that’s the case, your immigration lawyer will guide you as to which other employment visas you can transfer your status to and the pros on cons of doing so.

Finally, if you meet the requirements for a green card, you can start the process of obtaining that status. When your green card application is received, your H-1B visa remains in status. However, your lawyer can help you navigate the legalities of this step and stay on the right side of immigration law.

What’s Next?

Thousands of tech workers are dealing with unexpected layoffs right now. As they scramble to find new jobs, you are thinking smart and contacting Visa2US. Our immigration law professionals will help you respond to this job loss with intention and move forward to figure out your next steps.

We’re available 24/7 to guide you through this stressful time. Don’t let a layoff force you back to your home country without learning your options. Call Visa2US today.

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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.