Google Leads Legal Case Supporting US Visa Holders’ Work Ability


Google is leading an effort to maintain work authorization for tens of thousands of people whose spouses hold H-1B visas, the high-qualification visa that is common in the tech industry.

Companies in the tech industry, which have always fought for increased immigration rights, have submitted a brief friend Friday in a case known as Save Jobs USA v. Department of Homeland Security. A Washington district court is considering the plaintiff’s challenge to a DHS rule that allows so-called H-4 visa holders to work legally while their H-1B visa-holding spouses wait for green cards.

Google, who organized the effort, and more than two dozen The signatories said on the record that overturning the rule that allows some H-4 visa holders to work “would result in the exclusion of these talented people from the workplace, forcibly severing tens of thousands of relationships. work across the country ”. They wrote that 90,000 H-4 visa holders would be affected, 90% of them women.

Tech companies that signed the amicus dossier include Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Electronic arts, eBay, IBM, Intelligence, Microsoft, Pay Pal, Reddit, StubHub and Twitter. Several industrial groups from technology and other fields such as manufacturing have also signed.

The plaintiff, Save Jobs USA, who identified in court records as a group of computer scientists formerly employed by Southern California Edison and “replaced by foreign workers imported on H1B guest worker visas,” claimed that the DHS had exceeded his authority by authorizing the work. the authorization of holders of an H-4 visa and requested the cancellation of the rule authorizing it.

In the amicus brief, Google and other tech companies said such an outcome “would be utterly destructive to affected families; in one measure alone, around 87% of those families have made crucial life decisions. on the promise of an H-4 job, including whether to have a child and whether to buy a house. “

Since the rule covers H-4 visa holders whose spouses have been approved for permanent residence but are waiting for a green card, companies have written that families at this point are relying on the H-4 rule to obtain double income.

The brief also notes that women would be disproportionately affected if the rule were struck down, due to the overwhelming percentage of women on H-4 visas. The companies discussed the mental health implications that could arise from a sudden deprivation of worker status, including examples of people affected by visa processing delays developing depression and anxiety.

The companies have also said that H-4 workers are essential to their operations. Like H-1B visa holders, many H-4 workers have high levels of skill and education, with 99% holding at least a college degree and nearly 60% with a master’s degree or above, according to the memory. Many work in highly skilled fields, with two-thirds of H-4 visa holders working in science, technology and math, the companies wrote.

They also referred to DHS ‘explanation when the rule was introduced in 2015, which said it would help alleviate the “disincentives” that caused H-1B visa holders to abandon their quest for permanent residence. , which would minimize “disruption” to the US companies they work with. for. “The companies say economic analysis shows that eliminating the rule would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by about $ 7.5 billion a year and the federal government would lose at least $ 1.9 billion. in annual tax revenue.

Additionally, skilled workers who don’t want to face the headache of the U.S. immigration system while waiting for a spouse to get a green card are more likely to go to other countries that are more accepting of their immigration status. , indicates the memory.

The companies have argued that the damage to American workers is “minimal.”

“Indeed, the estimated job losses for domestic workers in the program are almost exactly offset by the 6,800 jobs created by H-4 entrepreneurs who have founded businesses and employ American workers,” they wrote.

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