Tech giants hiring low-paid H-1B workers after layoffs

Firms like Google, Amazon, Meta applied for H-1B visas for foreign hires after eliminating thousands of staff.

Layoffs became the season's flavour late last year in the face of an imminent recession projected to set in this year. In the face of skyrocketing inflation, America, one of the most powerful economies in the world saw some of the biggest job cuts across various industries. The technology industry was among the worst hit, to the point that employees at multi-billionaire-worth companies were shown the door, thousands at a time, overnight.

Laid-off employees were sent mass emails by these companies who said they were trying to be “capital efficient” and also spoke of extending the hiring freeze through Q1 2023. However, recent data released by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) shows that these companies started fishing for low-paid talent from foreign countries and applied for thousands of H-1B worker visas this year. Companies like Facebook/Meta Platforms, Amazon, Zoom, and Microsoft, were among those that requested these visas after conducting massive layoffs, Investigative Journalist Lee Fang wrote in his blog.

Alphabet-owned Google laid off 12,000 workers at the beginning of 2023 after CEO Sundar Pichai’s email said that were forced to cut roles due to over hiring between 2020 to 2022, and poor economic conditions led to their decision. However, the labour department data says Google filed several applications for foreign workers to join the company across technical, analytical, and research roles, some of whom will be joining the company by August 17, 2023.

According to the 2023 immigration trends report, employer demand for foreign talent in the U.S. is higher in 2023 compared to the previous year. The report said 71 per cent of companies reported recruiting more foreign nationals in Q1 2023 than during the same period in 2022.

Indians were revealed to be the biggest receivers of H1-B visas in the fiscal year 2021, making up for 74 per cent of the total visas handed out. Techies made up for 68.8 per cent of all the visas handed out to Indians.

This post is for paying subscribers only


Already have an account? Login