Layoffs at Meta, Amazon, and Twitter: ‘Tech layoffs will not crush Indians’ American hopes’

Surbhi Gupta received an email from Meta this morning informing her of her dismissal.
Recent large layoffs at major US technology firms have created uncertainty for some Indians on nonimmigrant visas such as the H1-B. Surbhi Gupta, a product manager at Meta who was affected, spoke with California-based reporter Savita Patel about just how long it took her to accept the concerns that H1-B visa holders confront and what she plans to do next.
My mother’s birthday has arrived. I remained up late wishing her well. That’s when I started receiving texts from pals regarding layoff notices. They were all worried.
At about 6:00 a.m., I received an e-mail informing me that I had been freed. As a product manager, I joined Meta early this year. My teammates were taken aback by how brilliantly I performed.
My last day at Meta is in January, and my H1-B visa (a non-immigrant visa that allows companies in the United States to hire foreign workers for up to six years) allows me to stay in the country for another 60 days, so I have until early March to find another job.
Job seeking may be challenging now because hiring will be slow in December due to the holidays. But I’m laser-focused. I’m in contact with several companies and looking into different options.
The workplace and my coworkers are what I shall miss the most about Meta. Being a part of Meta means not just being able to create a wonderful product for millions of users, but also taking part in fireside chats and chances for development and learning. As a product manager, it would have been great to see the project I was working on progress.
My parents instilled in me the importance of never giving up in life. They tell me to be strong because I have the ability to turn problems into opportunities. ‘Aur kuch accha mil jayega,’ they say (you’ll find something better).
However, my ability to work and stay in the United States is contingent on my H1-B visa. I relocated to the United States in 2009 and have worked extremely hard to establish a profession based solely on my own power and intellect. For more than 15 years, I’ve worked for well-known companies such as Tesla, Intuit, and others, building great products, receiving high praise, paying taxes, and contributing to the US economy, but I feel like I’m in the same situation in terms of being able to stay permanently due to H1-B restrictions. My hero, Bollywood star Sushmita Sen, crowned me Miss Bharat California [a beauty contest]. I walked the runway during New York Fashion Week. I produce my own podcast.
We are under unneeded stress since the United States has a nation cap that makes it impossible for Indian H1-B holders to obtain a green card (permanent residency). When I track my status, despite being in the green card queue, I sometimes receive a two-decade wait and sometimes a 60-year wait.
The uncertainty affects our personal lives. Buying a property has been a source of consternation for me: do I invest in a home, and what if I have to leave? Despite continuing with the YC [Y Combinator is an American technology start-up accelerator], I am unable to launch a business despite having a great idea because I do not have a green card.
Sushmita Sen, Ms. Gupta’s idol, crowned her Miss Bharat California. I travelled to 30 countries before turning 30 but now I don’t get to travel much despite my want to explore the world since I’m afraid of having troubles renewing my H1-B visa. My pals who work at renowned organisations like Google and PayPal have told me that they are stranded abroad.
I even limited my return trip to India. I was caught in India a few years ago. I’d been to a wedding and wanted my H1-B visa stamped. But it took many months since it went through random administrative procedures, and I had no idea when it would be completed. My marriage suffered as a result of the uncertainty and waiting. Visa difficulties were really essential in my marriage. It wasn’t the only cause, but it was one of the primary reasons my marriage failed. Because I didn’t know when I’d be able to return to the United States, I had to drop out of a semester at New York University, where I was studying at the time.
I haven’t seen my parents in three and a half years since they haven’t been allowed to visit me because of the Covid-19 epidemic. They are ancient and not in good condition. I constantly asking myself, “Can I help my parents if they need it?” Nobody understands how it impacts our life.
Despite all that has occurred, I feel that there is a silver lining to this experience. Spirituality is a big aspect of my existence. I am a Sadhguru ji devotee and follower [as followers refer to Indian yoga guru Jaggi Vasudev]. He believes that we should not identify or confine ourselves to our professional roles. He believes that we should not identify or confine ourselves to our professional roles. The most often asked question in Silicon Valley is, “Which business do you work for?” But I’m still just me, not a product manager. Everyone should understand that they are more than just the organisation for which they work.

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