Big tech companies have backed off green card applications in a big way because the process has become tougher and there’s less competition for talent.

This situation is making it harder for foreign tech workers to stay in the US, and it may mean overseas candidates have to search far beyond Silicon Valley and New York City for jobs in the industry.

Google stopped so-called PERM applications in January 2023, the same month it laid off 12,000 employees. PERM is a certification process run by the Department of Labor. It aims to ensure that admitting foreign workers into the country doesn’t impact US workers’ job opportunities, wages, or working conditions. It’s often the first step toward a green card.