US authorities have started accepting employment authorisation applications for H-4 visa holders, who are spouses of H-1B non-immigrant workers and were not allowed to work so far in the country.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) yesterday started accepting the applications for H-4 visas.

Issuing employment authorisation card (EAD) to certain category of spouses of H-1B visas is one of the legislative measures taken by President Barack Obama to fix the immigration system of the country.

As a result, about 1,80,000 would be eligible to work in the US.

According to the DHS, it will issue EAD within 90 days of receiving the application.

Under existing regulations, DHS does not extend employment authorisation to dependents (also known as H—4 nonimmigrants) of H—1B nonimmigrant workers.

The new rules allow H—4 dependent spouses of certain H—1B nonimmigrant workers to request employment authorisation, as long as the H—1B worker has already started the process of seeking lawful permanent residence through employment.