Some of the biggest companies in tech including Google, Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, and Salesforce have hired foreign workers just weeks after reducing headcount by thousands of employees, according to a report.
Google, which laid off some 12,000 employees earlier this year, filed applications for low-paid foreign workers to come to the United States and assume highly specialized tech roles within the company, according to investigative journalist Lee Fang.
The Alphabet-owned search engine submitted applications for dozens of foreign workers who were seeking to fill roles including software engineers, analytical consultants, user experience researchers and others, Fang wrote in his Substack newsletter on Tuesday.
The Google-owned self-driving outfit Waymo also received government approval for H-1B visa applications for engineering jobs, according to Fang.
The newly employed workers from overseas will begin working at the company as soon as Aug. 17, Fang reported.
Google defended the new hires.
“We’ve continued to hire for specialized roles, overwhelmingly from the US,” a Google spokesperson told The Post. “These jobs are not replacing the roles impacted by our workforce reduction. The H-1B skilled migration visas we apply for are mostly foreign employees already working at the company in the U.S. whose current visas are expiring.”
Other firms including Meta, Amazon, Zoom, Salesforce, Microsoft, and Palantir have also filed for more H-1B applications, according to Fang.
The Post has sought comments from all of these companies.
H-1B visas, which are used by software engineers and others in the tech industry, have been a lightning rod in the immigration debate, with critics saying they are used to undercut US citizens and legal permanent residents.
They are issued for three years and can be extended another three years.
Fang cited a 2017 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research that found that “wages for US computer scientists would have been 2.6% to 5.1% higher” while “employment in computer science for US workers would have been 6.1% to 10.8% higher” in 2001 “in the absence of immigration.”
The number of applications for visas used in the technology industry soared for a second straight year, raising “serious concerns” that some are manipulating the system to gain an unfair advantage, authorities said last month.
According to Fang, tech firms have hired lobbyists to pressure lawmakers and the Biden administration to expand the number of H-1B visas that are issued.
There were 780,884 applications for H-1B visas in this year’s computer-generated lottery, up 61% from 483,927 last year, US Citizenship and Immigration Services said in a message to “stakeholders.”
Last year’s haul was up 57% from 308,613 applications the year before.
Each year, up to 85,000 people are selected for H-1B visas.
The website Layoffs.fyi, which keeps a running tally of the total number of workers who have lost their jobs this year, reported more than 168,000 tech layoffs.