Foreign workers on H-1B visas laid off by Meta asked to stay on the company payroll longer to avoid having to leave the US, report says




Meta logoArnd Wiegmann/Reuters
Meta logoArnd Wiegmann/Reuters  
  • H-1B workers laid off by Meta asked to stay on for two extra months, BuzzFeed News reported

  • Laid-off H-1B workers only have 60 days to find a new job or they have to leave the country.

  • Staying at the company for longer would give them more time to find a new role in a tough market.

H-1B workers laid off by Meta in November sent an email requesting that the company let them stay on the payroll for longer to give them time to find new jobs, BuzzFeed News reported.

Hours after Meta announced plans to lay off 11,000 employees, foreign workers on the H-1B visa drafted a letter to the company's human resources department.

A draft of the letter read by a former employee to BuzzFeed News asked the tech giant whether staff on visas affected by the layoff could stay on the firm's payroll for four months, instead of the mandated two months' notice since they were already being offered four months' severance.

The layoff "puts our families, spouses, and kids in school in a terrible situation," the employees wrote. "Looking forward to getting a kind extension for the last day of notice period in this difficult time for all of us."

Being employed by the firm for a little longer would give them more time to find a new role in a tough job market where tech firms from the likes of Amazon and Twitter are also laying off thousands of employees and implementing hiring freezes, the employees said.

An H-1B visa allows companies to hire foreign professionals to stay in the US temporarily, according to the USCIS. 65,000 H-1B workers are permitted to stay in the US per year.

If they lose their job, they have only 60 days to find a new job in the country, or return home.

Tech firms are heavily reliant on the H-1B program and major tech companies have sponsored at least 45,000 H-1B workers in the past three years - many of whom have since been laid off.

Several laid off Meta employees told BuzzFeed News that they received a packet on immigration guidance for "general information purposes only," which didn't offer access to legal advice.

"Your next steps will be dependent upon your personal decisions and circumstances," it read. Employees were referred to Meta's immigration hotline, which Buzzfeed reported had slow response times, or told to find legal counsel independently.

Meta told BuzzFeed News that the company had offered immigration specialists, support resources, and opportunities to ask specific questions to external legal vendors by phone or email.

Meta did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment about the letter.

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