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Google urges keeping work authorization for tech immigrants' spouses

Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and top trade groups are supporting the H-4 EAD rule.

An open passport with stamps

Google is urging a court to protect a program offering work authorization to certain spouses of high-skilled immigrants.

Image : ConvertKit/Protocol

Google is leading a group of tech companies and Washington trade groups urging a federal court to protect a U.S. rule that allows certain spouses of high-skilled H-1B visa-holders to work.

Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Intel and trade groups such as U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined Google in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in support of what they said were 90,000 people who entered the U.S. on the H-4 visa and received work authorization under the EAD program.

Tech companies have been quick to defend the importance of immigrants with advanced degrees to their work. The immigrants in turn rely on the ability to bring their families along to the U.S. and find work for their spouses, many of whom are highly educated STEM professionals themselves, according to the brief.

The rule applies only to the spouses of H-1B visa-holders who have made certain progress toward green cards, and 90% of the beneficiaries are women, according to the brief. Most are Indian.

"If the program is lost, the practical effect is that we welcome a person to the U.S. to work but we make it harder for their spouse to work," wrote Google's vice president of legal, Catherine Lacavera, in a blog post accompanying the brief. "That hurts their family, impacts our ability to compete for talent, and harms our economy."

Save Jobs USA, a group that says U.S. workers face competition from foreign labor, has sued to stop the program. The Trump administration had sought to roll back the rule, but never finished the process.

Some spouses had previously sued over delays in the program.

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