Tolulope Komolafe moved to the U.S. from Lagos, Nigeria just over a year ago after working at software training startup Andela. Photo credit: Rotimi Okungbaye via Andela.
Policy Economy COVID-19

Layoffs Set Foreign Tech Workers on a Two-Month Dash for Sponsors

Photo: Tolulope Komolafe moved to the U.S. from Lagos, Nigeria just over a year ago after working at software training startup Andela. Photo credit: Rotimi Okungbaye via Andela.

After Tolulope Komolafe was laid off from her job at startup Everplans in March, the software developer sent out a tweet to summon the internet’s help. She needed to find a new job in 60 days or her work visa would expire, essentially forcing her to return to Nigeria. Her ask went viral. After interviews with dozens of companies, in early May she accepted an offer in software development at equity management startup Carta. 

“It was totally overwhelming,” she said of getting laid off and the subsequent rush to find a new job. 

Two thousand miles away in Salt Lake City, Bharat Soin is planning to leave the U.S. by the end of the month if he doesn’t find a new job that will allow him to retain his work visa. Carta, the same firm that made an offer to Komolafe, laid off the 30-year-old Indian finance professional in April. Since losing his job, Soin has been reaching out to hundreds of companies, including Amazon and Morgan Stanley. “Honestly, it’s been really hard,” he said. “You’re competing against people from Uber, Lyft, Boeing.”

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