This Tesla Employee Got Their Work Visa a Month Ago. Then They Were Laid Off

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Raj returned from India only a month ago after getting the crucial H1B work visa stamp on his passport from the U.S. consulate in Mumbai. The visa allows him and 85,000 other highly qualified foreign workers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields to enter and work in the U.S. each year. But after Tesla decided to shred 20% of its global workforce last month, Raj was left unemployed, leaving him with just 60 days to find another role or leave the country.

In an interview with InsideEVs, Raj—whose employment with Tesla was verified, but is being identified here under a pseudonym to protect him from professional repercussions—touched on several topics, including how the layoffs exactly took place, how they affect the production lines of one of the Gigafactories, and how unemployment complicates matters for international workers.

As tech companies embrace artificial intelligence and automation amidst industry headwinds, mass layoffs are increasing in frequency. Some 80,000 workers have been laid off so far in 2024 according to the tracking website That figure is expected to rise as the Tesla layoffs continue into this week; CEO Elon Musk has pledged to go “hardcore” with the company’s staff reductions amid an apparent pivot to robotaxis and AI. 

“I was in the office one morning in April when my email got blocked and I was like, what’s happening?” Raj said. He held a supervisor position at one of Tesla’s several production teams.

“I heard there was an issue with Microsoft,” he said of the email delays. “But then many of us got an email saying that the people unable to log in that day had been laid off. A bunch of people in my department and in my shift were dismissed.”

These included locals as well as several international workers like himself.

“That was it,” he added. After working at Tesla for nearly six years, he couldn’t log in anymore and couldn’t enter the factory again. It was his first job out of graduate school and he built a life around it, which was now uprooted.

Raj and several other workers on social media said Tesla terminated their roles with immediate effect. Some of Tesla’s recent rounds of layoffs were tipped by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which requires employers of a certain size to file a notice ahead of mass layoffs. It seems unclear whether any WARN Act notices were filed in the most recent spate of job cuts. At least some Tesla workers told InsideEVs they will be kept on the payroll for two additional months. 

Despite Tesla’s first-quarter sales dropping significantly, Raj said the remaining production teams would be overburdened.

“There is so much work pressure on the other people taking care of production. The process teams will be affected and some teams don’t even have supervisors left [after the recent layoffs], so they will be wondering what’s going on.”

The abruptness of these layoffs has baffled employees across departments and sent shockwaves around the EV industry.

Sometimes, Raj even worked overtime because his department was understaffed. “We just didn’t have enough people. Sometimes I worked six days to catch up with production,” he said. It was a “stressful” and “fast-paced work environment,” he added.

Now that he’s out, finding another job isn’t as straightforward for him as U.S. citizens. “Small companies don’t really sponsor production manager roles. So these layoffs affect people like us,” he said.

U.S. companies have historically relied on skilled workers from China and India to fill gaps in the tech sector. Studies show that attracting a global pool of talent not only helps these workers find meaningful employment but also adds trillions of dollars to the U.S. economy. But layoffs often impact them disproportionately. H1B workers get what’s called a “grace period” of two months. If they don’t find another job within that timeframe, they are required to leave the country. If not, they risk deportation and getting permanently banned from entering the U.S. again.

Raj says this worries him a lot. Despite having worked for Tesla for more than half a decade and staying in the U.S. for seven years, his future hinges on what he’s able to achieve in 60 days after the end of his payroll. He’s unmarried but has an entire family, including four sisters, to take care of.

Despite that, he’s hopeful. “It’s time to move on and find another role, instead of just sitting and thinking about the layoffs,” he said.

If you have been impacted by Tesla’s recent layoffs and have information to share, get in touch. We are happy to speak to you anonymously and discreetly.

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