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

Unshackled #50: Fee hikes, new H-1B bill, & free webinars.

Published 3 months agoΒ β€’Β 5 min read

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Hi [FORMATTED_FIRST_NAME GOES HERE],

Happy Wednesday & Happy 2024. ✨

Soundarya here, from Unshackled. :)

Welcome to the 50th edition of this newsletter, so perfectly fit to start a new year. In case you missed it, I shared my goals for 2024 on LinkedIn, and one of them is to continue growing this immigrant community & newsletter! We've officially passed 10,000+ members now. Thank you for making this happen. πŸ₯³

I won't take your trust for granted.

Before we jump in, I want to thank our sponsors scale.jobs and F1 Hire who made this newsletter free for all. Let's dive in!

You're receiving this email as part of the Unshackled weekly newsletter. Immigration is a complex world. So every Wednesday, I try to simplify that by sharing top stories and relevant resources that matter to you. I also sprinkle it with updates on what's happening with the Unshackled online community. If you find value in reading it, forward this to a lucky friend. If this was forwarded to you, get your own here! Read all the past editions here. πŸ’ƒ

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This week's TL;DR

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πŸ“Œ UNfold: Top stories

​The January Visa Bulletin is here... and there's good news!​

The January 2024 Visa Bulletin is out! After months of no change, the EB-1 final action dates have finally moved forward for Indian immigrants, from January 2017 to September 2020. Further, the EB-5 dates have also been moved by two years from December 2018 to December 2020 for Indian immigrants. There are also some marginal forward movements in final action dates across EB-2 and EB-3 for Indian and Chinese immigrants. Check it out!

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​Premium Processing Fees Surge: USCIS Announces Hike for Key Visa Applications​

Mark your calendars! Starting February 26th, 2024, USCIS has announced a fee hike across a few premium processing applications, including forms I-129, I-140, I-539, and I-765. Specifically, the fee for form I-129 (which is the application used by H-1B, L-1, and O-1 applicants) will increase from $2500 to $2,805. If you send the wrong $$ after February 26th, your submission will be declined and returned.

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​US Semiconductor Industry Proposes 'Chipmaker's Visa' to Tackle Talent Shortage​

The US semiconductor industry will face a talent shortage of 67,000 workers by 2030, prompting a call for immigration system reform. The Semiconductor Industry Association is proposing a "Chipmaker's Visa" to streamline talent acquisition for the sector. The proposed visa would be auctioned, with 2,500 visas per quarter, totaling 10,000 annually. This way, people wanting to enroll in this can avoid the dreaded H-1B lottery.

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🎁 UNlock: Relevant resources

​​[Extraordinary Visa Library] EB-1A recipient & Co-founder of Healthtech Startup: Nikin Tharan​

Welcome to the next edition of the Extraordinary Visa Library -- a joint initiative between Unshackled and Schmidt Futures! In this edition, I interview Nikin Tharan for his unbelievable story of getting his EB-1A denied twice before finally getting it approved. It's full of persistence, grit, and determination. You won't regret watching this! (This was originally published within the Unshackled online community.)

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​Free Webinar: Top Visa Solutions for Start-Up Founders in 2024! [February 2, 2024 12:30 AM]​

Sign up for this free webinar with Jacob Sapochnick, business immigration attorney. He has assisted local and multinational companies and has been featured in major media such as Forbes, NBC, KPBS, Reuters, Fox News, CNN, etc. During this session, he will discuss optimal visa and green card choices for startup founders, along with potential immigration changes anticipated in 2024.

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​U.S. Department of State Finally Launches Pilot for In-Country H-1B Visa Renewals​

Starting January 29, 2024, the U.S. Department of State will introduce a pilot program allowing certain H-1B visa holders to renew their visas within the U.S., addressing the challenges of traveling abroad. Limited to 20,000 applications, the program applies to principal H-1B applicants with specific eligibility criteria. Application slots will be released weekly, with a total of 4,000 each week, concluding by April 1, 2024. The renewal process involves a self-assessment, DS-160 completion, and a $205 fee.

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πŸͺ„ UNveil: This week’s sponsor

​Don't waste YOUR time applying for jobs: So... applying to jobs can get really repetitive and boring. You're copying and pasting the same information into every application while listening to The Office in the background. But, what if you can outsource all this repetitive, boring work to an AI and only focus on higher-level tasks? Enter Scale.jobs. The founder gave me a personal demo of the tool, and it's pretty awesome. Save your time in applying to jobs by using Scale.jobs!​

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​Do you want to filter jobs that offer visa sponsorship? Enter F1Hire. An easy-to-install Chrome extension that will filter jobs that offer sponsorship in one click. It doesn't stop there. It also gives you data on salaries, E-verify history, matches the job's skills with your resume, and works with LinkedIn, Indeed, Handshake, Glassdoor, & Google Jobs. As a fun perk, use this link to get one-month free access to premium features!​

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πŸ‘‰ Want to put yourself in front of 10,000+ high-skilled immigrants? Just hit reply to start a conversation.

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πŸ₯³ UNshackled: What's happening in the community?

EXCITING UPDATE: I hired my first full-time employee at Unshackled this week -- Disha Brara! Disha will be working with me on everything related to setting up a sustainable business, as well as improving the experience of members who join our community.

It's been an exciting week here in Bangalore, India, as Disha and I have had several brainstorming sessions on the same. Just to give you an idea, you can expect the following to happen in the coming weeks:

  • A brand new landing page with clearer messaging, a lawyer directory, and a teaser into the community.
  • A thoughtfully curated onboarding experience that is entirely focused on helping members make progress in their talent visa journey.
  • A video course launched on the O-1/EB-1 visa within the community.
  • Changing the membership model from a public one to something invite-only (don't worry, I'll give you a heads up before this happens!)

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Besides the above, here's what's been brewin' in our community the past few weeks:

  • ​Onboarded two past recipients of talent visas: We onboarded two EB-1A recipients -- Prasanna Rao and Vinay Prabhu -- as an expert mentor within our community. They've generously agreed to offer one free consult with members only!
  • ​Launched Extraordinary Visa Library with 5 case studies: Imagine if there was a library filled with case studies of past O-1/EB-1 recipients, sharing exactly how they got to the finish line. we launched 5 of the 10 case studies so far, the rest will be launched in the coming weeks.
  • ​Can someone sponsor me for IEEE Senior Membership? was one of the questions on our discussion forum last week!
  • [Coming soon] O-1A self-assessment tool: I’m collaborating with the Schmidt Futures organization to build a tool that will give you a personalized roadmap for your O-1 journey. This will be free for all.

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Whenever you're ready to join the community, use this private link that lets you join for $539 ($60 off). Once you join, get access to top lawyers, O-1/EB-1 recipients, weekly events, & a roadmap to reach your goal.

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Until next week, stay wonderful.

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Yours truly,

Soundarya πŸ’š

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πŸ’‘ 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.

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πŸ’« UNcover: Picks from the internet

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

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