Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and others back lawsuits against H-1B visa ban 

The companies have argued that the Proclamation against nonimmigrant visas will “impose irreparable harm on businesses and the nation’s economy.”
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US tech giants Apple, Facebook and Microsoft are among the latest to join the legal battle against the Trump administration in the fight against the ban on nonimmigrant visas, including the H-1B visa for high-skilled workers, the most number of recipients of which are Indians.

In a filing with the court called an amicus brief [legal documents filed in cases by non-litigants with a strong interest in the subject matter], 52 companies have asked to be allowed to add their voice. This includes Adobe, Apple, Amazon, HP, Microsoft, Salesforce, Uber, Twitter and more. They have argued that the Proclamation will “impose irreparable harm on businesses and the nation’s economy.”

In a proclamation on June 22, US President Donald Trump suspended the issuing of all H-1B, H-2B, J and L visas until the end of the year, reasoning that with rising unemployment rates in the country, Americans needed these jobs.

This is what the brief tackles, and states that based on studies and the experience of the companies’, “the impact on American workers, businesses, and the economy more broadly will be adverse, enduring, and irreparable.”

It adds that instead of protecting American jobs, this will harm those workers, employers and the economy.

Suspension of these nonimmigrant visas will “stifle innovation, hinder growth, and ultimately harm U.S. workers, businesses, and the economy more broadly in an irreparable way,” it adds.

“Slashing legal immigration avenues will inflict serious long-term damage to our economic stability, recovery and growth, particularly as the U.S. economy attempts to rebuild from the devastation of the COVID-19 crisis. The future of our nation’s economic security and growth stems from the contributions of hardworking immigrants — not from scapegoating the very population that for centuries has been a cornerstone of our country’s economic engine,” said Todd Schulte the President,, one of the signatories of the brief and a group of prominent American leaders, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. said this brief was in support of the lawsuits filed by the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, TechNet and others against the proclamation.

The brief states that the suspension of the visas does not further the interest of the US. 

Indians are the largest recipients of the H-1B, and some have even been stranded in India when they returned to renew their visas.

The brief filed states that with the suspension of the visa, global competitors of these companies in countries such as Canada, China and India “are pouncing at the opportunity to attract well-trained, innovative individuals.”

It stated that American businesses are now scrambling and hiring talent to work in locations which are not in the US. “The Proclamation did not consider these costs,” it says.

“Indeed, the overwhelming weight of evidence and the experience of amici—leading corporations, trade associations, and other business-oriented organizations—make clear that the suspension of these vital nonimmigrant visa programs will stifle innovation, hinder growth, and ultimately harm U.S. workers, businesses, and the economy more broadly in irreparable way,” it states.

Some tech companies had opposed the move at the time the proclamation was announced.

In July, the Trump administration also sought to put restrictions on new and existing student visas, preventing students who had a full online course load from entering the country. Due to the coronavirus, many universities are considering moving their fall semester classes online to prevent the spread of the disease. However, Harvard University, MIT and others filed a lawsuit against the US government challenging the order.

The government ultimately backed off and revoked the order, though new student visas still will not be issued to those with only online classes.

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