Some of the largest technology firms in the US, including Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, are backing a legal challenge against temporary restrictions on foreign worker visas, which were introduced by US president Donald Trump during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In June, Trump introduced a temporary ban on H-1B work visas, which are often used by Big Tech to attract specialist skilled workers from other countries. The ban, which is expected to stay in place until at least then end of the year, also affects H-2B visas for seasonal workers, J-1 visas for short-term exchanges, and L visas for management or executives of multinational companies.
The president’s goal was to suspend the entry of almost all immigrants to the US, claiming that the measure would ensure employers prioritise hiring people who are already in the US during the pandemic. The temporary visa ban was estimated to impact more than half a million people.
In response, a number of large tech firms have now backed a lawsuit filed by major US business associations, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the US Chamber of Commerce.
The brief argued that the visa restrictions will hurt US businesses, lead employers to hire workers outside the US and further damage the US economy. According to Reuters, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Netflix and Twitter are among 52 companies that signed the brief.
The plaintiffs are calling for a preliminary injunction to reverse the Trump administration’s ban. The first hearing on the motions for a preliminary injunction will be held on 27 August.
Opposition to the visa ban
The brief argued that, as a result of the ban, competitors in China, Canada and India are “pouncing at the opportunity to attract well-trained, innovative individuals”, while businesses in the US are “scrambling to adjust” and hiring talent in other countries to meet their needs.
By Kelly Earley for silicon republic
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