Amazon, Salesforce Layoffs: What Does This Mean for Indian Workers on Visa? EXPLAINED

Amazon and Salesforce, makers of business software, are the latest US technology companies to announce significant job cuts as they trim payrolls that grew sharply during pandemic lockdowns.

Amazon announced on Wednesday that it would be laying off around 18,000 employees. The layoffs are the largest in the company’s history, although they represent only a small portion of its 1.5 million global workforce.

“Amazon has weathered uncertain and difficult economies in the past, and we will do so in the future,” CEO Andy Jassy said in a note to employees made public by the company. “With a stronger cost structure, we will be able to move forward.” our long-term opportunity.”

In which departments of Amazon are the layoffs happening?

He said the layoffs would primarily affect the company’s physical stores, which include Amazon Fresh and Amazon Go, as well as its PXT organization, which handles human resources and other functions.

JC notified employees in November that the layoffs would be due to the economic climate and the company’s rapid hiring spree in recent years. Wednesday’s announcement included countless earlier job cuts. The company has also offered voluntary buyouts and reduced costs in other areas of its vast operations.

An employee scans a package at Amazon’s JFK8 distribution center on November 25, 2020 in Staten Island, New York, US. REUTERS/Brendan McDiarmid.

What about salesforce?

Meanwhile, Salesforce announced layoffs of around 8,000 employees, or 10% of its workforce.

The layoffs announced Wednesday are the largest ever in the 23-year history of the company, which was founded by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff. Benioff pioneered the method of leasing software services to Internet-connected devices – a concept now known as “cloud computing”.

The layoffs follow a reorganization in Salesforce’s upper management. Reuters/Dado Ruvik/Illustration

The layoffs follow a reorganization in Salesforce’s upper management. Brett Taylor, Benioff’s chosen co-CEO and chairman of Twitter, left Salesforce around the time of Twitter’s tortuous $44 billion sale to billionaire Elon Musk. Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder of Slack, then left. Salesforce paid about $28 billion for Slack two years ago.

According to the company, the employees who have lost their jobs will receive approximately five months’ salary, health insurance, career resources and other benefits. Amazon also said it is providing severance pay, transitional health insurance benefits and job placement assistance.

In a letter to employees, Benioff, Salesforce’s sole CEO, said he blamed himself for the layoffs after aggressively hiring during the pandemic, with millions of Americans working from home and the company’s technology demanding was increasing

Benioff said, “As our revenue increased due to the pandemic, we laid off a lot of people, which led to the economic downturn we’re facing now, and I accept responsibility for that.”

A pandemic boom, then slump

Salesforce employed about 49,000 people in January 2020, just before the pandemic. Salesforce’s workforce is still 50% larger today than it was before the pandemic.

When it was announced in November that his company would lay off 11,000 employees, or 13% of its workforce, Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted he misjudged revenue gains during the pandemic by the owner of Facebook and Instagram. .

Salesforce’s recent decline since the heady days of the pandemic, like other major tech companies, has had a significant impact on its stock. Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, shares had fallen more than 50% from their peak of $310 in November 2021. The stock closed Wednesday at $139.59, up nearly 4%.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote, “It’s a smart poker move by Benioff to preserve margins in an uncertain backdrop.”

Salesforce also announced on Wednesday that it would be closing some of its offices, but did not specify which ones. Since its completion in 2018, the company’s 61-story headquarters has been a prominent feature of the San Francisco skyline and a symbol of the technology’s importance to the city.

What do tech layoffs mean for Indian workers?

December 2022 Report India Citing today’s layoff data. fyi (a crowdsourced database of tech layoffs) said that over 2 lakh employees have been laid off by around 1,400 tech companies since the onset of Covid-19. The data also showed that while 2022 may have been the worst year for the tech sector, the beginning of 2023 could be even worse for tech workers.

By mid-November, more than 73,000 workers in the US tech sector had been laid off by companies such as Meta, Twitter, Salesforce, Netflix and others. Meanwhile, reports state that over 17,000 tech workers have been laid off in India.

Layoffs in technology began around the first half of the year and will continue throughout the year. According to reports, in the first half of 2023, the situation of technical layoffs will worsen. Several major technology companies, including Meta, Amazon, Twitter and Netflix, have already laid off hundreds of thousands of workers through 2022.

A precarious situation for tech visa workers

A Guardian report by Johanna Bhuiyan on the plight of non-citizens facing layoffs in the US tech sector highlights how immigrant tech workers on temporary visas have always had fewer options than green card holders or citizens Because their visas, and thus their ability to work in the United States, are tied to their employers.

Even when done voluntarily, changing jobs can be a risk, literally in some cases, she wrote. For example, workers with H-1B visas must apply for a new H-1B visa and find a new employer willing to sponsor them. When an application is submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it is entered into a lottery to determine which applications will be considered. If their application is selected in the lottery, USCIS will decide whether to grant them H-1B status.

This thorny and complex system often leaves H-1B visa holders feeling trapped in their current status, who are unwilling to risk losing their status by switching to another company. People who have been laid off must navigate the same system, but with the added pressure of finding another job within 60 days.The report said.

Layoffs can be a devastating blow to those on the path to obtaining a green card. Depending on how far they have progressed in the application process that spans several years, they may have to start again. Employers of H-1B workers may apply for a green card on their own behalf through a three-step process, which includes testing the labor market to demonstrate that there are no U.S. workers available to fill their positions. . The green card system, like the H-1B process, is a lottery, but it is quota-based. The United States sets a quota for the number of green cards granted to citizens of each country. Because of the large number of immigrants from India and China, where many tech workers come from, there is a backlog of years for green cards for those workers.

“Some speculate that if you were born in India and the job you’re applying for only requires a bachelor’s degree, for example, that process could take a decade to complete. ,” Christy Nevarez, a partner at the law firm Frogmen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Lowy LLP, told the Guardian.

With inputs from The Associated Press

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