Close-up of a passport and US visa.
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Google rallies tech firms to support US visa holders’ right to work

14 May 2021221 Views

Almost 30 tech companies are pushing back against the proposed block of H-4 visas, which allow H-1B holders’ spouses to work in the US.

Tech companies in the US have rallied to protect a law that permits spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the country. Google, which is leading the group, submitted an amicus brief outlining the importance of the law to the Department of Homeland Security today (14 May) in relation to an ongoing case between the department and Save Jobs USA.

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Save Jobs USA has been in a lawsuit with the DHS since 2016. It is a collection of IT workers who claim they were replaced with H-1B visa holders from other countries. The group proceeded to sue the DHS and have been campaigning to block the H-4 employment authorisation document (EAD).

Google’s vice-president of legal Catherine Lacavera said in a statement: “The ability to recruit and retain the world’s best talent is crucial to America’s economic success – and it has been from the beginning.

“That is why we have advocated for a fair and competitive immigration system. And that is why now, as the US emerges from a pandemic only to face unprecedented global competition, we support a system that offers opportunities to highly skilled workers and their families, and cements the citizenship of dreamers rather than miring immigrants in decade-long application backlogs.”

According to Lacavera, the H-4 EAD programme provides work authorisation for more than 90,000 people, and more than 90pc of these are women.

“The pandemic has already disproportionately impacted women and ending this programme would only make things worse, leading to disrupted careers and lost wages,” she said.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services has reportedly been taking as long as two years to process H-4 EAD applications. Google previously joined an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit filed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association to speed the process up.

Lacavera added that Google’s new brief is supported by nearly 30 other companies. According to CNBC, these include Amazon, Apple, eBay, Microsoft, Reddit and Twitter.

“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 programme,” Lacavera concluded. “Ending this programme would hurt families and undercut the US economy at a critical moment.”

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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