Twitter’s Mass Layoffs Leave Foreign Employees on H-1B Visa in a Fix


Twitter’s mass layoffs have put a lot of pressure on the fired employees who were foreign nationals working in the US. The former employees, on H-1B visas, have flocked to social media to hunt for jobs as the stringent immigration policies allow these foreign nationals a limited time to stay in the states without a job.

As per the rules in US, the employees have a 60-day deadline with their immigration status under threat. So, the fired employees, who are already holding a H-1B visa, have to find a new job to maintain their immigration status or face deportation.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

“This is not easy to write, but here we go. I was amongst 50% of the employees affected due to layoffs at Twitter…I am actively looking for new opportunities in the ‘Data and Analytics domain’….Layoff comes with a deadline for employees like me on an H-1B visa, and I have around 60-days to find a new role in the US,” a data software engineer, based in San Francisco, wrote on LinkedIn, employment-oriented website.

According to reports, there are around 625 to 670 Twitter employees in H-1B status (about 8 percent) of the company’s 7,500 employees. However, it is not yet known how many of the foreign nationals were fired.

According to experts, one of the options with the employees is to get B-2 visa to buy additional time for the stay in US.

“If you do not have an H-1B transfer job offer lined up, after about 45-days, you could start the preparation for filing an I-539 application to change status from H-1B to B-2 to ‘buy time’ to transition out of the US. You will not have authorization to work on this visa, so this option is based on the assumption that you can support yourself during this period on your savings,” Robert Webber, US immigration attorney, told The Times of India.

The B-2 visa is a visitor visa and a person can stay using the visa for a maximum stay of six months. However, a few months extension is possible.

A laid-off employee, who was thinking about enrolling at a university for further studies, found that the fall semester began in August and the admission in the next semester will be after the 60-day grace period.

Stripe, another major company to lay off more than 1100 of its staffers, has shown some empathy towards its immigrant workers.

CEO Patrick Collison, in a note to employees, said “We know that this situation is particularly tough, if you’re a visa holder. We have extensive dedicated support linked up for those of you here on visas…We will be supporting transitions to non-employment visas wherever we can.”

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