Amazon and Google suspend US green card applications for immigrants

Amazon and Google have recently suspended US green card applications for immigrants for the rest of 2024. This comes amid the recent layoffs by tech giants like Microsoft. As the competition grows stiff, the situation for foreign workers is getting dire. With the green card application process being halted, overseas candidates may find it harder to reside in the US for work, especially in the tech industry. Both, Google and Amazon have halted the PERM applications up until next year.

Google and Amazon suspend US green card applications for immigrant workers amid recent tech layoffs(AFP)

What is PERM?

PERM is a process for obtaining permanent labor certification, overseen by the US Department of Labor. Its purpose is to ensure that the admission of foreign workers to the country does not negatively affect job opportunities, wages, or working conditions for US workers. This process is often the initial step towards obtaining a green card.

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Why are Google and Amazon pausing PERM?

Earlier this year, Amazon made an internal announcement to its employees that the company would pause all PERM filings through 2024, per Business Insider. The e-commerce giant said in a memo that “it was determined that we are unable to continue with PERM filings through 2024.” “We know this is disappointing, and we did not take this decision lightly,” the memo added.

Meanwhile, in January 2023, Google halted its PERM applications and laid off 12,000 employees. Employees were notified earlier this year that the company would not resume the PERM process until the first quarter of 2025, per the outlet. The green card process has grown complex amid the series of massive tech layoffs.

Ava Benach, founding partner of Benach Collopy, a leading immigration law firm in Washington DC told the outlet that tech companies are following in the footsteps of Google due to its “outsized influence here.” “With more US workers available for open positions, the labor market test fails and so the process becomes a waste of time and money for these tech companies,” Collopy explained.

“If tech companies have done layoffs relatively recently, they also have to notify laid off workers of new positions that may be going to foreign workers. If some of these people say ‘yes, I’m interested,’ then you’re out of luck with the green card application,” she added, per the outlet.

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