As Trump administration mulls change in eligibility rules for H-1B visas, 46 top companies and business organisations based in the United States have extended their support to a lawsuit opposing the rule changes. Firms like Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Adobe, Hewlett Packard, have filed an amicus brief backing a lawsuit challenging the proposal to scrap computerised lottery for H-1B visas.
Amicus briefs are legal documents filed in appellate courts by non-litigants that have strong interests in the litigation. The briefs provide relevant advice, or additional information or arguments that the court might be inclined to consider.
The lawsuit in question has been filed the US Chamber of Commerce along with 12 other organisations and universities where Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been named as defendant. The District Court of Northern California is hearing the matter.
The plaintiffs stated that H-1B visa programme contributes significantly to innovation and economic growth in the US. Calling the entire premise for the new visa rules "false", they further argued that instead of taking jobs away from US workers, the economic growth created by the H-1B visa holders creates numerous jobs for the domestic workforce.
"These H-1B workers play an important role in the innovation that drives the US economy... The federal government itself has recognised these very same benefits," the amici curiae filed by the top tech companies said.
H-1B workers also improve US productivity and their absence would cause the nation to lose these benefits, severely affecting the GDP.
"Without H-1B workers, these benefits would be lost because there are not enough US workers with STEM knowledge to satisfy US companies' continually increasing demand for employees with these skills. To take just one example of this high demand, software developers and software quality assurance analysts and testers are among the fastest-growing occupations in the United States, with approximately 300,000 new jobs projected over the next ten years," the document read.
The companies asked the court to issue a preliminary injunction barring the new H-1B visa rules from taking effect.
Earlier this week, Trump administration proposed to scrap the computerised lottery system to grant H-1B work visas to foreign technology professionals and replace it with a wage-level-based selection process. This move is expected to counter the downward pressure on the wages of US workers that is created by an annual influx of relatively lower-paid, new cap-subject H-1B workers, DHS said.
The H-1B visa, most sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
If finalised as proposed, US Citizenship and Immigration Services would first select registrations (or petitions, if the registration process is suspended) generally based on the highest Occupational Employment Statistics prevailing wage level that the offered wage equals or exceeds for the relevant Standard Occupational Classification code and areas of intended employment.