Google leads 30 companies to preserve work permit for H-1B spouses, Pichai says ‘proud to support immigrants’
- Save Jobs USA, a group of IT workers who claim they lost jobs to H-1B workers, filed a lawsuit in 2015 to end the issuing of the H-4 Employment Authorisation Document.
Alphabet Inc’s Google on Friday said that it is leading nearly 30 companies and trade organisations to oppose a lawsuit that seeks to stop thousands of spouses of foreign workers on H-1B visa from working in the United States. Catherine Lacavera, V-P, Legal at Google, said in a blog post that a fair immigration system is necessary to preserve America’s “laudable history" of welcoming immigrants from different parts of the world and “to fuel a virtuous cycle of innovation.”
“Unfortunately, an impending court case is putting both at risk at the most inopportune moment,” wrote Lacavera, an immigrant herself.
The spouses of H-1B visa holders, a majority from India and China, receive H-4 visas and only in certain cases, they can apply for an employment authorization document. Earlier, the work permit was usually given to H-4 visa holders where their H-1B spouses were well on track to receive a permanent resident card, also known as a green card.
But decades of backlog in green card prompted the Obama administration, in 2015, to introduce the H-4 Employment Authorisation Document (EAD) rule. It proved extremely useful for families struggling to survive on a single income. However, Save Jobs USA, a group of IT workers who claim they lost jobs to H-1B workers, filed a lawsuit the same year to end the issuing of H-4 EAD for such spouses of H-1B visa holders.
The lawsuit was delayed as the previous administration, under President Donald Trump, considered rescinding the H-4 work rule. But the axe never came and the US department of homeland security (DHS) formally withdrew the move after President Joe Biden took office. Now both the plaintiffs and the Biden administration are seeking summary judgement in the case.
Lacavera said that the H-4 EAD program provides work authorization to spouses of more than 90,000 H-1B visa holders, of which 90 per cent are women. The coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic has already disproportionately impacted women and ending this program would only make things worse, she added.
“To support this important program, we are leading an amicus brief with nearly 30 companies and organizations to preserve and protect the H-4 EAD program,” Lacavera announced, adding that it would otherwise hurt families and undercut the US economy at a critical moment.
Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said that the company is proud to support the immigrants working in the US. Taking to Twitter, Pichai, an immigrant from India, said that they have joined 30 other companies to protect a program that “spurs innovation, creates jobs and opportunities, and helps families.”