Headline, Technology

Indian techies prepare for worst amid lay-off spree

Times look definitely uncertain for Indian workers, especially those employed on H-1B visas

“Since I am on H-1B and not very old in my current job, I am

already liquidating some of my assets” — an H1B worker

With Amazon announcing another 18,000 jobs cuts in the coming days, the risk of a job loss looms large for many professionals across the US.

Late last week, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced a larger-than-expected wave of lay-offs. Internal chat boards of a number of tech companies in the Bay Area have since then been on an overdrive with speculations on what may come next.

Read: In holiday season carnage, tech sector shed more than 50,000 jobs in November (December 29, 2022)

As the lay-off spree continues in the United States, times look definitely uncertain for Indian workers, especially for those who are employed on an H-1B visa and face the risk of deportation if they can’t find a new job within 60 days should they be laid-off.

As disturbing as it may sound, many Indian H-1B workers are already prepping themselves for the worst.

Suresh Raman, an IT professional from Boston, shares with the American Bazaar, “A few of my ex-colleagues and acquaintances lost their jobs in the last 2-3 months almost abruptly leaving their families in a lurch.

“Since I am on H-1B and not very old in my current job, I am already liquidating some of my assets. I sold off an extra car and our dinner conversations these days often veer towards “if we have to go to India, how will we go about it.”

For some others, there have been other horror stories. Nisha S. an administrative professional with a Bay Area-based start-up, says, “I heard about a family friend who lost his job and was unable to secure another offer.”

Read: How workers can stay in the US after losing jobs (December 20, 2022)

“He had a lot of airline vouchers accumulated over time which he could use to buy tickets for anyone and he was trying to sell those off to recover some amount that he may have to lose in investments made during their stay in the US.”

On the expat WhatsApp groups, at least one post each day is about enquiring about the school system in India, mostly from parents with school going kids, worried about how they would adjust their kids in Indian school in the middle of a session.

Those who bore the brunt of a job-loss are also warning others to be prepared should things go wrong. Discussions on sub-letting the house and job searches for laid-off employees are commonplace.

Sreekanth Vemuda shares, “I got laid-off last December. I was given no reason but my manager called me aside and told me that it was due to my not-so-prompt performance last year, when I was in India and got stuck there due to visa date stamping issues for a few months.”

Read: Tech layoffs send visa holders on frantic search for employment to avoid deportation (December 2, 2022)

“Interestingly, after I was back, no one mentioned anything about my ‘non-performance.’ I was a good worker, throughout and all my reporting managers maintained that I was a resource.

“The lesson I have learnt is that your job will not care about the hours you have toiled and you are dispensable. I was lucky that having lived in the US for 10 years I had a good network and I got a quick lead. But I realize that everyone is not that lucky. So, it is best to be prepared.” says Vermuda.

(Some names have been changed on request to protect identity.)

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