Spouses of H-1B visa holders, who are currently authorised to work in the United States automatically, may soon no longer be able to do so. The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday proposed revoking the 2015 rule that extends the H-1B visa work authorisation to spouses, CNN reported.

The move is likely to affect thousands of Indian workers in the US, who may be discouraged from working in the US if their spouses find it difficult to get employment. Indians comprise around 70% of all H-1B workers in the US, many in the information technology sector.

The rule, introduced by the Barack Obama administration, allows spouses of H-1B visa holders waiting for green cards to work in the US on H-4 dependent visas. More than 41,000 of such H-4 visa holders got work authorisation in 2016.

“DHS is proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation,” the Department of Homeland Security said.

The department said this change was in line with President Donald Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ order issued earlier this year.

The Department of Homeland Security has also proposed revising the definition of which occupations are eligible for the H-1B program, “to increase focus on truly obtaining the best and brightest foreign nationals”.