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

Unshackled #52: Fee hike final, masterclass for researchers, & H1B revamp.

Published 3 months ago • 6 min read

Hi [FORMATTED_FIRST_NAME GOES HERE],

Happy Wednesday ✨

Soundarya here, from Unshackled. :)

Exciting update: We're shining a light on our top newsletter readers! We're re-launching the Unshackled website & would love to highlight testimonials from a few readers. If you'd like to be one of the few, just hit reply and answer any of the following q's:

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Before we jump in, I want to thank our sponsors scale.jobs and F1 Hire who made this newsletter free for all. And, I'm delighted to welcome 161 new subscribers to our newsletter since last week. We're 10,280 members strong now! 🙏

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. 💃

This week's TL;DR

📌 UNfold: Top stories

It's happening: White House Approved in H-1B and Green Card Fees

About a year ago, USCIS proposed increasing the visa application fee across almost ALL visa categories. Now, finally, the White House has approved this proposal. This is the first hike since 2016, and it’s a pretty significant one. For e.g. filing for an H-1B will increase from $460 to $780. For O-1, it will increase to $1055. The biggest jump of all is for the EB-5 investor visa, from $3,675 to $11,160. While the White House has approved this, it's unclear when this will go into effect though. We'll keep you posted.

USCIS Implements Digital Upgrades for H-1B Visa Program, Introduces Organizational Accounts

USCIS is introducing significant reforms to the H-1B visa program, including the launch of organizational accounts and online filing for H-1B registrations. The new features aim to enhance efficiency, and collaboration, and prevent duplicate submissions. Organizational accounts will enable collaboration between people within a company and their legal representatives during the H-1B registration process. Online filing for H-1B petitions will replace the traditional paper-based process, making the entire H-1B lifecycle electronic. These changes are set to take effect in February 2024.

U.S. State Department Launches Pilot Program for In-Country Renewal of H-1B Visas

The U.S. Department of State introduces a pilot program for in-country renewal of H-1B visas, effective from January 29 to April 1, 2024. Open to 20,000 applicants, the initiative facilitates online renewal for H-1B holders from Mission Canada (Jan 2020-Apr 2023) or Mission India (Feb 2021-Sep 2021). Eligible candidates, exempt from reciprocity fees, can apply through an online portal, with 4,000 slots weekly. The program aims to streamline processes and enhance predictability amid global uncertainties.

🎁 UNlock: Relevant resources

Paid Masterclass: Peer-reviewing a computer science research paper by EB-1A recipient [Feb 8, 2024, 6.30 PST]

Want to become a master of peer-reviewing a research paper? Here's a masterclass for you! Meet Siddharth Krishnan, a faculty member at UNC Charlotte, specializing in applied artificial intelligence and machine learning. He got his EB-1A in 2020 and has since helped a lot of researchers start their peer-reviewing journey. You don't wanna miss this! (This masterclass is being conducted within the Unshackled online community & is free for members).

NOTE: This masterclass was originally supposed to be on January 25th, but has been postponed per speaker's request]

​[Extraordinary Visa Library] O-1A recepient and DEI Consultant: Daniela Herrera

Welcome to the next edition of the Extraordinary Visa Library -- a joint initiative between Unshackled and Schmidt Futures! In this edition, I interview Daniela Herrera. Originally from Argentina, Daniela moved to the US in 2016 on an L-1 visa sponsored by her company. When hit with a layoff in 2023, Daniela began looking at alternatives. Within months, she successfully applied for an O-1 visa through an agent, showcasing her leadership in recruitment, talent ops, and diversity and inclusion. Enjoy watching! (This was originally published within the Unshackled online community.)

Paid webinar: Immigration Strategy For the Ambitious Immigrant [Jan 28, 2024. 8:00 AM PST]

Aditi Paul got her EB-1B green card after 13 years of living in the United States. Now, she and immigration attorney Arianna Efstathiou are hosting a masterclass to share a 3-step system for a clear immigration plan, covering visa options, aligning goals, and ensuring legal status. The hands-on class includes worksheets, personalized plans, and a Slack community for support. It's for those committed to securing their US future, not for quick fixes. Register, bring a friend, and connect with Aditi on LinkedIn for questions.

🪄 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!

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!

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

🥳 UNshackled: What's happening in the community?

It's been another busy week here in Bangalore, India, as Disha (my new head of sales & community) and I are working on all things sales, partnership, and the new website. 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!)

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

Whenever you're ready to join the community, use this link to join the community as an Annual member. Once you join, get access to top lawyers, past O-1/EB-1 recipients, monthly workshops, & mainly a strategic roadmap to reach your goal.

Until next week, stay wonderful.

Yours truly,

Soundarya 💚

💡 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.

💫 UNcover: Picks from the internet

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