Google is reportedly leading a huge effort by US tech giants to back a program that gives the spouses of H1B visa holders authorization to work in the US. The multinational tech company is joined by 30 other firms in support of the H4 EAD (Employment Authorization Document) program.
H4 visas are issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to the immediate family members (spouses and children under the age of 21) of H1B visa holders. Tech companies rely on the H1B visa program to recruit tens of thousands of people every year from countries such as China and India.
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, posted on Twitter: “Google is proud to support our nation’s immigrants. We joined 30 other companies to protect the H4 EAD programme which spurs innovation, creates jobs and opportunities, and helps families.
Vice President of legal at Google, Catherine Lacavera, said: “To support this important program, we are leading an amicus brief with over 40 companies and organizations to preserve and protect the H4 EAD programme.”
“This builds on an amicus brief we recently joined in support of a lawsuit filed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) to expedite the delayed processing time of H4 work authorizations,” Lacavera added.
Meanwhile, the Senior Vice President of Global Affairs at Google, Kent Walker, argued that the H4 EAD authorizations would help America to attract and retain the world’s best talent. He said: “We led a business coalition filing on behalf of 30 companies to preserve and protect the program.”
“H4 EADs provide work authorization to more than 90,000 H4 visa-holders - more than 90% of whom are women. COVID has disproportionately affected women. Ending this program would make things worse, disrupting careers and reducing wages,” Walker added.
Make it hard for spouses
Mr Walker also argued that welcoming a person to work in the US, but making it harder for their spouse to work ‘doesn’t make sense’. He said that it hurts families and the US economy, both now and in the future.
Efforts to save the EAD program date back as far as 2015, when Save Jobs USA filed a lawsuit to keep the program alive. The lawsuit was delayed by former US President, Donald Trump, while his administration considered scrapping the H4 work rule.
However, a week after his inauguration on January 20 2021, current US President Joe Biden withdrew a Trump-era rule rescinding work authorization for H4 visa holders.
Save Jobs USA and Biden are now seeking a summary judgement.
In the amicus brief, Google said: “The regulation at issue here, the H4 Rule, US Department of Homeland Security, Employment Authorization for Certain H4 Dependent Spouses, 80 Fed. Reg. 10,284 (Feb. 25, 2015), provides work authorization to more than 90,000 H4 visa holders (spouses of certain H1B visa holders), more than 90% of whom are women.”
“Invalidation of this rule would result in these talented individuals being barred from the workplace, forcibly severing tens of thousands of employment relationships across the country. The results would be utterly destructive for the families impacted; by just one measure, about 87% of these families have made crucial life decisions on the promise of H4 employment, including whether to have a child and whether to buy a house,” the brief added.
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