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Don’t waste your time and money trying to keep up with U.S. immigration.

Unshackled #15: Layoff resources, 60-day clock, & job search on B-1/B-2

Published 12 months ago • 5 min read

Hi [FORMATTED_FIRST_NAME GOES HERE],

Happy Wednesday. ✨

Soundarya here, from Unshackled. :)

Just in the last 3.5 months, 170,000+ tech workers have been laid off. It’s insane. In case you got affected, or know a friend who did, here’s a LinkedIn post where I’ve shared a compilation of resources that could help. Further, I’ve published the O-1 chapter from my book, Unshackled, for free last week. Simply click here to read it.

Before we jump into the newsletter, I want to welcome 399 new subscribers to our newsletter since last week, Welcome, folks! And thanks to you if you forwarded this to a dear friend. 🙏

This week's TL;DR


📌 Stories you should know about


USCIS clarifies 60-day grace begins after last day of paycheck

There was a lot of confusion around when the 60-day grace period begins for immigrants who got laid off. Fortunately, USCIS has recently clarified that the clock begins the day after your last paycheck. This is good news! If you can convince your employer to keep you on “unproductive employee status” for a few more months, then you get extra time to figure something out. However, note that this doesn’t apply for severance paychecks.

USCIS clarifies job search policy for B-1/B-2 visa holders

A couple of weeks ago, USCIS published a tweet sharing that immigrants can apply for jobs and sit for interviews on a B-1/B-2 visa. This was a welcome surprise — and cause for some confusion. Some thought this meant you could work on a B-1/B-2. Nope! USCIS has clarified this now by saying, “Before beginning any new employment, a petition and request for a change of status from B-1 or B-2 to an employment-authorized status must be approved, and the new status must take effect.”

Indian students suffer as H-1B visa lottery sees record low selection rates

USCIS has not yet launched the data around the number of H-1B applications this year, yet. However, experts anticipate this number to be in the 600,000 range, making it the worst year of the lottery so far, with less than 15% selection rates. This has greatly affected students who rely on the H-1B to continue living and working in the U.S. If you too were affected, it’s time to begin looking at alternatives, as shared in this LinkedIn post.

Support the first documentary capturing struggles of high-skilled immigrants

My friend, Vidyut Latay, has created the first-ever documentary capturing the struggles of high-skilled immigrants like you. She’s invested 5 years of her life into this and is almost at the finish line. She’s set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise $50,000 to cover the final stages of post-production. Support her if you can — this is for all of us! 🙏


🎁 Resources curated for you


Top 10 tips: Master the H-1B filing process

Maximize your chances of H-1B petition success with these top 10 tips, covering registration selection notice, proper forms, filing fees, correct locations, signatures, start dates, LCA job details, and education qualifications. Don't forget to file dependent petitions alongside the I-129 petition. Make the most of your lottery win!

Need to apply for citizenship or naturalization? Check out TrueVisa!

If you need to apply for citizenship or naturalization, check out TrueVisa. They’re a fully digital platform for you to file your application, along with an attorney review. I recently spoke to one of the co-founders and was impressed to hear how they’ve brought down the cost of filing from a few thousand to a few hundred by digitizing it. (Bonus: Use the referral code “unshackled20” to get a 20% discount. I don’t make any money off of this).

May 2023 Visa Bulletin: Updates on availability and retrogression warnings

The May 2023 Visa bulletin is here! Here are some quick highlights: there is no change in the cut-off date for the EB-1 for India and China since April. It’s currently February 1st, 2022 and June 1st, 2022, respectively. All other countries remain at current. However, USCIS warns that the date could likely retrogress further for folks from India and China. Meanwhile, the EB-2 cut-off dates have retrogressed by a few months for all countries, except India and China. Check out the bulletin to learn more!

💡 None of the information shared in this newsletter is meant to be legal advice. If you're looking for legal advice, speak to a lawyer, or hit reply and let me know so I can connect you with one.


📕 What's the latest on Unshackled?


I’ve got two exciting updates since last week.

First, I’ve begun work on the Unshackled community starting this week. Now that the work on the book is mostly out of the way, I have the space to envision what I want for the community. What is the purpose of it? How will we help the members? What should the pricing look like? These are all questions I’ve begun thinking about. I’m also planning to recruit a full-time community manager next week. Hit reply and let me know if you/someone you know is interested.

Second, Brad Feld will be writing the Foreword for Unshackled. Brad is the co-founder of Techstars, a Managing Partner at Foundry Group, and a passionate champion for immigration reform since 2010. More than anything, Brad was one of the earliest supporters of my project (he invested $1000 into my crowdfunding campaign) — even when I had literally nothing to show. To have him read the manuscript and say, “I loved it.” is a big deal. I can’t wait for you to read the Foreword soon.

Hey, by the way, if you haven't yet, be the 862nd person to pre-order the book below. 👇


Thank you so much for reading till here, [FORMATTED_FIRST_NAME GOES HERE]!

Got a burning question? Did you come across a resource that seemed useful? Want to say hi?

Whatever it is, hit reply and tell me more. I read and respond to every email.

And, if you enjoyed reading this email, forward it to one friend. It helps more than you know.

Until next week, stay awesome.

Yours truly,

Soundarya 💚


👀 Fun corners of the internet


Caption: The grass isn’t fully green after all…

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Read more from Don’t waste your time and money trying to keep up with U.S. immigration.

Hi [FORMATTED_FIRST_NAME GOES HERE], Happy Wednesday. ✨ Soundarya here, founder of unshackled.club. :) I have two exciting updates to share: We launched the brand new website for Unshackled a week ago! Take a look at it and hit reply if you've got some feedback. We're making the event at UC Berkeley free and open to the public, happening on April 20th, 2024. Come spend your Saturday evening with me, a top immigration lawyer, and a Canada expert to nerd out on O1/EB1 and entrepreneurship! RSVP...

5 days ago • 4 min read

Hi [FORMATTED_FIRST_NAME GOES HERE], Happy Wednesday afternoon. ✨ Soundarya here, founder of unshackled.club. :) I'm writing this to you from a bus ride from Philly to New York! We kicked off the Unshackled Campus Tour yesterday at UPenn, with 3 more events this week at Columbia, NYU, and Long Island University. Good news: you can join me in person on the tour at some locations and attend a FREE event on talent visas & immigration. If you're living in SF Bay Area, Boston, Dallas, or Austin,...

12 days ago • 4 min read

Hi [FORMATTED_FIRST_NAME GOES HERE], Happy Wednesday. ✨ Soundarya here, founder of unshackled.club. :) EXCITING NEWS: You can now join me in person and attend a FREE event on talent visas & immigration that we're hosting across the country. We got permission from several universities to make the event public and open to everyone in the area. So if you're living in New York, SF Bay Area, Boston, or Dallas, come RSVP for free below & enjoy an evening of education, networking, and free snacks!...

19 days ago • 4 min read
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