MUMBAI: Corporate America has lent its heft to lawsuits against the Donald Trump administration over the temporary ban on issue of new visas to non-immigrant workers. A proclamation by the US President on June 22, had introduced this ban on entry into America for a wide range of non-immigrant workers (including H-1B visa category), which would last at least until the end of this year.
H-1B is a popular work visa for Indians, especially those in the technology sector. According to the latest statistics, 57% of the 1.4 lakh new H-1B visas (including non-cap category) issued during fiscal ended September 30, 2019, were allotted to Indians. Large US tech companies are among the top sponsors of H-1B workers.
Thus, the proclamation significantly impacted Indians, as even those who succeeded in the H-1B lottery would have had to wait till the ban was lifted — typically these new visa holders enter the US from October onwards.
More than 50 signatories have lent their names to the amicus brief (friend of court filing), which includes Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, Uber Technologies and even social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. FWD.US, a group of prominent American business leaders, which counts among its founders Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, is also one of the signatories. The amicus brief supports two lawsuits, filed earlier against Trump’s proclamation.
Banking on the economic disruptions caused by the pandemic, the stated ground for the temporary ban was that entry of non-immigrant workers is detrimental to the country’s interest. The Trump administration estimated that the proclamation would prevent over a half a million work-authorised individuals from entering the US. Experts estimate that this would also prevent roughly 20,000 employers from filling in positions up to December-end.
The Amicus Brief seeks to rebut this “faulty premise”. It also points out that global competitors stand to gain and adds that it gives a shot in the arm to offshoring.
“Already global competitors in Canada, China, and India, among others, are pouncing at the opportunity to attract well-trained, innovative individuals. And American businesses are scrambling to adjust, hiring needed talent to work in locations outside our nation’s borders. The proclamation did not consider these costs,” it points out.
Suspending these vital immigration programs would particularly do long-term damage to the US economy by shrinking GDP, hurting middle class workers and denying American families the opportunity to reunite with their loving parents and children, the amicus brief sums up.