Amazon, Twitter, Microsoft, Meta -- some of the biggest and the most sought-after companies in the world have in recent times laid off thousands of employees. Not only has this raised questions on job stability and job security, it has also left hundreds of people, especially Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) who relocated to other countries for the said jobs, in the lurch.
The mass layoffs at tech giants and others have left several NRIs unemployed and without a sponsor for their work visa. Many of them have no choice but to leave the US to look for new jobs.
The H1-B visa situation
Indian techies work in the US on the H1-B visa, which is sponsored by the employer. The recent layoffs have left all such employees hanging by the thread since they would be deported if they do not find a job within 60 days of their termination.
Bhavna Udernani, the CEO of Adhaan, an HR services company, believes that the chances of Indian techies staying back in the US are extremely slim. She says, “We are anticipating the migration of several laid off Indian tech professionals from the US and that is because the grace period for H1-B visa holders is only 60 days until they find new employment. Finding a new company to sponsor their VISA and execute the necessary paperwork at such short notice will be extremely difficult given that there are currently 7 lakh green card applicants waiting in line for their visas.”
NRI techies on the look for high paying jobs
Sanjay Shetty, the Director of Professional Search and Selection at Randstad, an international HR services firm, notes that many of these professionals had extremely lucrative jobs and would expect the same wherever they go.
“Indian professionals were some of the highest paid in the US and will undoubtedly demand hefty salaries for their skill set,” he said.
Udernani expects that due to the same reason, it is highly likely that these professionals will move to developed economies like Canada, Europe, or Singapore to maintain their living standards instead of coming back to India.
“Majority of NRIs who have lost their jobs in the US would prefer not to come back to India because they left the country for a change in lifestyle, better pay, and an overall higher standard of living. As a result, they are more likely to relocate to other developed nations like Singapore, Canada, etc,” the CEO of Adhaan highlighted.
Are there no jobs for NRI techies in India?
But this does not mean the Indian job market has no openings for NRI techies. Aditya Narayan, the Managing Director of CIEL HR Services, highlights that some of these professionals might not get similar salaries in India as they did in the US but they might have a competitive advantage over their peers in India.
“For those who have no other option but to come back to India, Indian tech firms will take them with open arms. They have a competitive advantage after gaining experience working in leading tech firms. The pay might not match their US pay, but the cost of living in India is also not the same as it is in the US so it is not much of a disadvantage,” Narayan said.
This also means that the Indian job markets would get a bit more competitive, Shetty highlights. He said, “Despite the growing demand for tech skills in a young and densely populated country like India, the job market is definitely going to be extremely competitive with new professionals coming in.”
In which sectors can NRI techies work?
Experts believe that Big Data, Cloud, and AI/ML might be some of the sectors in which NRI techies might get a shot in India.
According to Shetty, they can bridge the gap when it comes to data analytics, data visualisation, data science, full stack development, and Cloud and DevOps.
He said, “We project a demand in data analytics, data visualisation, data science, full stack development, Cloud, and DevOps. The growing internet penetration and the arrival of 5G technology will ensure the exponential Indian IT and tech space, thus creating ample employment opportunities.”
Consulting and freelancing also seem to be viable options for incoming NRIs. “They can even choose to freelance or become consultants to tech startups and SMEs,” Narayan said.
Udernani said, “NRI’s skills would aid in scaling up Indian sectors and verticals like AI/ML, Big data, which are still in their nascent stage.”
“Whether it was in 2001 or 2008, the US economy's recessions both aided India's market expansion. In India, there will be an increase in consulting positions and new businesses,” she further adds.
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