Amid mass layoffs by top tech firms across the United States (US), more bad news came in for foreign employees working in the country after Google paused its Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) process, which is a vital part of acquiring an employer-sponsored green card.
Google told its foreign employees, including a large number of Indians, residing in the US of its decision through an email, which was shared by a company executive on Team Blind, an anonymous social media platform for certified IT workers.
What did the email say? The email sent by Google stated:
"Recognising how this news may impact some of you and your families, I wanted to update you as quickly as possible on the difficult decision we've had to make to pause new PERM applications. This does not impact other visa applications or programmes."
Impact on foreign workers: The latest move has put thousands of foreign tech workers in limbo as they will not be able to acquire their green card for an indefinite period of time.
The PERM programme allows a worker to stay in the US for at least 10 years, after which they can renew their permits. It is far more valuable than an H-1B visa, which allows a worker to live in the US for a much shorter period of time while working for a particular company.
In the PERM process, employers must prove that their company is unable to employ a qualified US worker for a role, and thus needs to employ a foreign national.
What else did the email say? The email further said, "The process requires employers to demonstrate that there are no qualified US workers available for the particular role, which has been an increasingly difficult position for us to support given the labour market today."
Did Google give any other justification for its decision? The company said that it was forced to pause the PERM process in the backdrop of several tech companies announcing reductions in their workforce through layoffs and hiring pauses. This, in turn, had led to a large number of people looking for jobs in the US.
"As a result, we, along with other tech companies, have seen a notable increase in the number of PERM cases audited by the Department of Labor (DOL) for tech roles – which we believe is a result of more talent being available in the US market," the email further read.
The company, however, clarified, that it would continue to support PERM applications which had been submitted before they issued the notice.