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Tech giants file amicus brief in US district court to support right of H-1B spouses to work – Times of India


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MUMBAI: Nearly forty firms and associations have joined arms to file an amicus brief, to support the right of spouses of H-1B visa holders to work. These embrace company giants comparable to Accenture, Amazon, Cisco, IBM, Google, SAP, to identify a couple of.
This amicus brief was filed in a US district court (District of Columbia) on May 14, in relation to the continuing ‘Save Jobs USA’ litigation.’ This go well with was filed approach again in 2015 by an advocacy group of tech employees, who misplaced their jobs to H-1B visa holders. As reported by TOI earlier, in accordance to this group, the right given to spouses to work takes away American jobs and likewise makes the H-1B program extra engaging.
The Biden administration, in January (days after President Joe Biden was sworn in) had withdrawn the proposal to rescind a rule that revoked the right of such spouses to work. However, the continuing litigation continued in the US district court.
Spouses of H-1B employees are given an H-4 visa. Only in sure instances, comparable to the place the H-1B visa recipient is on observe for a inexperienced card or the place the H-1B visa recipient has obtained an extension past the permitted six years, can the H-4 partner apply for an employment authorisation doc (EAD).
To take care of the a long time-lengthy inexperienced card backlog for sure sections, comparable to candidates from India, the Obama administration in 2015 had launched the ‘H-4 Employment Authorization Document (EAD) rule” – this the Biden administration seeks to continue.
According to the latest available official data, up to December, 2017, nearly 84,360 Indian spouses (largely women) held an EAD (this was 93% of the total EADs issued). The number of such Indian spouses is now estimated to be over a lakh.
The amicus brief contends that H-4 EAD enables tens of thousands of mutually beneficially employment relationships between these talented employees and leading employers like amici and their members. Moreover, it enables US employers to attract additional top international talent on H-1B visas in the first place, with the knowledge that their spouses will not have to put their own careers indefinitely on hold.
The H-4 Rule thus accounts for $7.5 billion dollars of economic productivity annually, along with additional billions in federal, state, and local tax revenue—all of which will be lost to other, competing nations if the H-4 Rule is set aside. And this is to say nothing of the devastation it would cause to the tens of thousands of affected families who have come to rely on the economic security provided by H-4 spousal employment, particularly given the uncertainty, adds the brief.
Meanwhile, Catherine Lacavera, VP, Legal at Google, has blogged: “A fair immigration system is necessary to preserve America’s laudable historical past of welcoming individuals from completely different locations and to gas a virtuous cycle of innovation. Unfortunately, an impending court case is placing each in danger on the most inopportune second.”
“The case in question is an attempt to end the issuing of work authorization (H-4 EAD) for certain spouses of high-skilled talent who have come to this country on H-1B visas. In other words, it seeks to end the ability of highly-skilled immigrants’ partners from working in the United States. This H-4 EAD program provides work authorization to more than 90,000 H-4 visa-holders — more than 90% of whom are women. The pandemic has already disproportionately impacted women and ending this program would only make things worse, leading to disrupted careers and lost wages.”
“Furthermore, if the program is lost, the practical effect is that we welcome a person to the US to work but we make it harder for their spouse to work. That hurts their family, impacts our ability to compete for talent, and harms our economy.
To support this important program, we are leading an amicus brief with over 40 companies and organizations to preserve and protect the H-4 EAD program. This builds on an amicus brief we recently joined in support of a lawsuit filed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association to expedite the delayed processing time of H-4 work authorizations,” she pens.
Lacavera sums up as follows: “As an immigrant myself, I have been the beneficiary of a welcoming America and I hope we can ensure that same welcome for future immigrants by preserving the H-4 EAD program. Ending this program would hurt families and undercut the US economy at a critical moment.”

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