google h4 ead

File photo of Google Indian American CEO Sundar Pichai gesturing as he addresses students during a forum at The Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur in Kharagpur, near Kolkata, on Jan. 5, 2017. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

Google joined 30 U.S.-based tech companies May 14 to file a “friends of the court” amicus brief supporting H-4 EAD, work authorization for spouses of H-1B workers on track for green cards.

“Google is proud to support our nation’s immigrants. We joined 30 other companies to protect the H-4 EAD program which spurs innovation, creates jobs and opportunities, and helps families,” tweeted Google Indian American CEO Sundar Pichai.

“H-4 EAD authorizations for the spouses of high-skilled workers help American companies recruit and retain the world’s best talent,” tweeted Kent Walker, senior vice president of global affairs at Google.

“Whether by founding companies or developing life-saving vaccines, immigrants have pioneered many of the breakthroughs that fuel our economy and make the U.S. a technological leader,” wrote Catherine Lacavera, vice president of Google’s legal team, in a blog post. “That is why we have advocated for a fair and competitive immigration system. And that is why now — as the U.S. 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.”

“A fair immigration system is necessary to preserve America’s laudable history of welcoming people from different places 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.

The long-debated issue was decided upon in 2019 in favor of the plaintiffs, Save Jobs USA, which contended that work authorization for H-4 visa holders — overwhelmingly women from India who often have advanced degrees and job skills comparable to those of their spouses — impacted their members’ abilities to get jobs as they competed with foreign workers.

In the decision issued Nov. 8, 2019, Judge David Tatel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals wrote: “Save Jobs has demonstrated that the (H-4 EAD) rule will subject its members to an actual or imminent increase in competition.”

Tatel noted that Save Jobs USA members not only faced increased competition from H-4 EAD workers, but also from H-1B workers who were remaining in the U.S. for longer periods of time because their spouses had work authorization. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the District Court of Columbia.

On April 2, Save Jobs USA filed its second renewed motion for the case to be reheard in the lower court. The case was scheduled to be heard May 17; plaintiffs are scheduled to make their case in court on May 31, according to the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The amicus brief filed May 14 by Google and 30 tech companies — including Adobe, Amazon, Apple, eBay, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, PayPal and Twitter — featured stories of H-1B/H-4 families who had made financial and parenting decisions based on a double-income household.

“As one H-4 spouse put it after losing her work authorization — and therefore her skilled job diagnosing cancer samples — due to government processing delays: “I am not sure how we are going to meet our monthly expenses. I haven’t been sleeping from the stress,” read the amicus brief. “Indeed, for a family with two professional breadwinners making roughly equal salaries, an unexpected halving of household income may be catastrophic.”

“Such unexpected job losses are especially harmful in this context because the vast majority of families with H-4 work authorization have made major, and frequently irreversible, life decisions in explicit reliance on the economic security provided by H-4 employment,” read the brief. Roughly 36,000 couples have chosen the size of their families, at least in part, through reliance on H-4 employment authorization. Similarly, 77% of H-4 families bought a house in reliance on the availability of two incomes, and 29% have invested in additional education, read the brief, citing a Brannon & McGee report.

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