What will become of visa holders after last week's massive tech layoffs?

Last week, tech giants Twitter and Facebook enacted massive layoffs totaling thousands of employees in the USA. These unanticipated layoffs have sent shockwaves through employees in the tech industry and their families, who now must scramble to secure new jobs, else face insecurity making house payments and putting food on the table. While layoffs are devastating for all employees and their families, US visa holders, many of whom have been in the United States for several years, suffer the additional hardship of losing status in the USA.

Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter just this year, terminated half of the company's 7,500 employees just one week after closing his blockbuster buyout.  This has left 700 visa dependent employees without a job. In similar fashion, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, laid off 11,000 employees, or nearly 15% of their total workforce, many hundred of which depend on their employment visas to stay in the USA.
Unanticipated and widespread layoffs such as those occurring at Twitter and Meta have serious consequences for these employees whose ability to stay in the country is determined by their employment status. 

Once laid off, H-1B workers have only 60 days ( the "60 day Grace Period") during which time they must find another employer to sponsor a new H-1B on their behalf OR apply to change to a different visa. If they cannot find another employer or transfer to another visa within the grace period, the must return to their home country. 

L-1 employees usually have an even tougher time as their visa issuance was based on being an intra-company transfer from an employer abroad, and therefore the options for a new L-1 are often null. Switching to an H-1B for L-1's is problematic because there is only one time period each fiscal year to apply for a first instance H-1B, April 1, and that does not line up with the current layoffs.

If you are evaluating your options after a layoff from an H-1B or other employment visa position, there are some options to buy time in the USA to continue the job hunt at a less frantic pace. Please reach out to Hargis Law Firm as we are offering free consultations to anyone who finds themselves in this position.

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