World

46 companies to file an amicus brief against H-1B interim final rules

US giants such as Apple, Google, Microsoft are among the 46 companies to have lent support to a lawsuit against the new policies issued by the US Department of Labour (DOL) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), relating to the H-1B program. Others include social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Two sets of rules were issued recently as interim final rules. Those issued by the Department of Labour – hiked significantly wages for H-1B workers and came into effect from October 8.
The other set of rules issued by the Department of Homeland Security, which will come into effect from early December, set out more restrictive eligibility norms for H-1B visa and also curtailed the tenure of the visa to one year, in case of third-party placement of the workers.
The amicus brief, which lends support to an existing law suit filed in the Northern District of California, states, “The H-1B visa program provides tremendous benefits to the US economy and US workers. Numerous economic studies demonstrate that the presence in the US of these high-skilled employees fuels innovation, increases productivity and the size of the US economy, and—most important—creates additional jobs and higher wages for US workers.”
“The new DHS and DOL Rules will dramatically reduce US businesses’ ability
to hire these skilled foreign workers—one senior DHS official estimated that they will render ineligible more than one-third of petitions for H-1B visas. That will significantly reduce the economic benefits provided by the H-1B program, stunt the US economy’s recovery from the pandemic, and lead to greater reliance by US companies on operations outside of the United States—inflicting long-term damage to our Nation’s economic growth,” adds the brief.
The amicus brief points out that DOL and DHS cannot demonstrate the ‘good cause’ required to finalise the rules without prior notice and comment. They have relied on the overall unemployment rate at the onset of the pandemic, but
most H-1B employees work in the information technology sector, where the unemployment rate is extremely low, and there is a long-recognized lack of US workers to fill available jobs.
“Finally, the new Rules will irreparably injure companies and the entire US economy by forcing businesses to discharge current employees—disrupting ongoing projects and imposing significant costs, and in some cases forcing companies to transfer work to locations outside the US,” adds the brief.
Twitter’’ Public Policy handle has tweeted, “Today, we joined industry peers and numerous organisations in filing an amicus brief that supports a legal challenge to block upcoming rule changes to H-1B visa eligibility. These rules will stifle the ability of American companies to hire and retain global talent.”
“Not only is the H-1B program critical to driving American economic growth and innovation, it also enhances our diversity as a company and as a nation. We’ll continue our strong advocacy on this issue,” it added.

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