New Delhi: Less than a week since his inauguration, US President Joe Biden has decided to revoke the Trump-era rules concerning H4 work permits. This move comes as a great relief for spouses of H1B holders living in the United States of America, many of them, Indians.

The US government's official data shows that Indian and Chinese workers account for a majority of H1B visas. In 2019, Indians filed 74 per cent of all H1B petitions while the Chinese accounted for 11.8 per cent.

During his second term, the then-president Barack Obama took a landmark decision in 2015 by allowing a certain subset of spouses of H1B visa holders to work in the US. The decision was challenged in courts and eventually overturned as Donald Trump took office.

Ever since 2017, recipients of the H4 work permit have been on the edge of their seats owing to changes in the rules fuelled by Trump's "Buy American and Hire American" policy aimed at appeasing the Republican vote base.

With the Biden administration acting swiftly to issue clarity in this regard, H1B visa holders and their spouses eligible for the H4 work permit can now breathe a sigh of relief.

According to the Cato Institute, Indians make up 75 per cent of the employment-based visa backlog in the US. "Over 2,00,000 Indians could die of old age waiting for green cards," the public policy research think tank said.

Each year, the USA issues 1,40,000 green cards and a single country's share cannot be more than 7 per cent.

Policy documents released by the Biden campaign during the presidential election had hinted at the lifting of the cap on green cards and visas for immediate family members of green card holders.