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Google pauses green card applications from employees amid layoffs

After announcing a massive layoff plan affecting 12,000 roles on Friday, tech giant Google has now sent out an email to its foreign employees (based in the US) informing them about its decision to put a temporary stop to Program Electronic Review Management (PERM).

PERM application is a key step in getting an employer-sponsored green card.

The email sent by Google was reportedly shared on Team Blind, an anonymous social media site for IT workers. The software giant informed employees in an email that it was pausing new green card applications. They mentioned that this is a difficult decision for them, but they should be made aware of it.

“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 programs,” an email from a company executive read.

PERM is the process through which employers can sponsor foreign workers for permanent employment in the United States. This process involves obtaining labour certification from the U.S. Department of Labor and is a required step in the process of obtaining an employment-based green card.

The process includes recruiting U.S. workers for the job, obtaining a prevailing wage determination, and submitting a formal application to the Department of Labor.

The employer must demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the job and that the employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.

PERM is different from an H1B visa as with an H1B visa the employees are allowed to live in the US on a temporary basis and work for a company. The PERM program lets people stay in the country for at least 10 years and then they are required to renew it.

According to the Observer, Google has confirmed that the latest decision won’t affect current or upcoming visa applications. Existing PERM applications will be supported by the company.

On January 20, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google, announced the elimination of 12,000 jobs.

In an email shared with employees, Pichai said “ we will be saying goodbye to some incredibly talented people we worked hard to hire and have loved working with. I’m deeply sorry for that. I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here,”

Pichai said Alphabet would be paying affected employees 16 weeks of severance and six months’ worth of health benefits in the US, with other regions receiving packages based on local laws and practices. CNBCTV18

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