Meta staff came to Singapore on work permit but were fired a few months later
Ex-Meta workers who entered Singapore on employment cards are rushing to find jobs to remain in the country more than a month after being let off.
Two former workers affected by the global layoff of 11,000 Meta employees told CNA that they moved to Singapore to start a new life earlier this year, only to be let off months later with no answer to the difficult labor market.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, informed staff on November 9 that Facebook’s parent company was reducing its employment by 13%, eliminating discretionary expenditure, and extending its hiring freeze through the first quarter of next year. Last month, when CNA contacted Meta for comment, a spokeswoman declined to elaborate.
The major layoffs are the first in Meta’s 18-year existence and follow hundreds of layoffs at other technology companies, including Twitter, Microsoft, and Snap.
The Singapore office of Meta, which houses its Asia-Pacific headquarters, was notified of the layoffs early on November 10.
Ms. Susmita Sahu, a technical sourcer in the recruiting division of Meta, began to cry when she saw the email.
On the same day, her office access and corporate laptop were revoked.
Another former technical sourcer, who wished to be identified by her initials EZ, reported that her access was terminated as she was saying goodbye to coworkers on their work chat.
EZ, who relocated from Shanghai in June, reported that her thoughts froze upon receiving the feared email.
EZ stated that her phone began ringing incessantly at 7 a.m. on that particular day. “I awoke and opened my email, where I read. Unfortunately, you have been included in this layoff… I had no idea what to think.”
She sent an urgent SMS to her teammates.
EZ and Ms. Susmiti were stunned by the news, as team leaders and supervisors had been assuring employees that everything was OK. Even the day before layoffs, assurances were provided.
Both have yet to collect their severance payouts, which amount to around 2,7 months’ wages.
The two were unable to return to the office, and their possessions were sent to their respective residences.
She estimates that Meta’s recruiting division was the hardest-hit in Singapore, with around 120 staff losing their jobs.
While Ms. Susmita and EZ traveled to Singapore without their families, others they know took with their spouses and children. The terminated staff are on gardening leave until December 10.
According to both ladies, Meta has subsequently given affected employees with life counselors and career transition programs to assist with resume development and job hunting.
Both ladies are in a race against time to find new jobs in Singapore, as their employment permits were revoked upon leaving Meta.
They are now on short-term visit visas valid for the next 90 days, during which time they must find employment or depart the country.
They have been carefully sending out applications and are willing to accept a 30 to 40 percent wage decrease. But progress has been slow.
Ms. Susmita reported applying for 80 to 90 employment and interviewing with about 15 businesses, but receiving few answers. She stated that firms who do reply cannot provide her an employment pass.
Ms. Susmiti remarked that competition has been intense, with vacancies for recruiting posts being highly overloaded. Within hours of the job announcement, around 200 people applied for one such position.
EZ reported submitting 15 to 17 applications for similar positions in Singapore, but the only two who answered were unable to provide work permits.
While both wish to remain in Singapore, if the next several months are unsuccessful, they will be forced to return to their home countries.
EZ is prepared to return to China no later than February of next year, while Ms. Susmita has purchased a ticket for a March flight just in case.