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

Unshackled #55: Fee hike final, free webinar, & O-1A interview.

Published 2 months ago • 4 min read

Hi [FORMATTED_FIRST_NAME GOES HERE],

Happy Wednesday. ✨

Soundarya here, founder of unshackled.club. :)

It's official: as part of the Unshackled Campus Tour, I will be speaking at 15 universities in April 2024, including Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia. We're currently finalizing the sponsors on our tour and especially looking to partner with top law firms across California, Boston, New York, and Texas.

If you have lawyers you highly recommend, hit reply and we'd love to get them onboard!

Now, onto the newsletter.

You're receiving this email as part of the Unshackled weekly newsletter. Immigration is a complex world. So every Wednesday, I simplify that by sharing breaking news, free webinar invites, & latest trends. 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: Breaking news

Final Rule: USCIS Updates Immigration Fees, Addresses EB-5 Program and H-1B Registrations

It's here: USCIS has issued a final rule adjusting visa application fees, effective April 1, 2024. This is the first time USCIS has revised the application fees since 2016. Under the final rule, the new fees will not increase by more than 26%, which is equivalent to the increase in the Consumer Price Index since 2016. H-1B petitions increase from $460 to $780, L-1 petitions rise from $460 to $1,385 and O-1 petitions increase from $460 to $1,055.

USCIS Celebrates Remarkable Reduction in Backlogs with 10 Million Completed Cases in FY 2023

In FY2023, USCIS accomplished completed over 10 million pending cases out of 10.9 million filings. Ur Jaddou, the director of USCIS, praised the workforce's dedication, emphasizing record case completions, including administering the Oath of Allegiance to 857,500 new US citizens, effectively eliminating the naturalization application backlog. The agency achieved a 15% reduction in overall backlogs for the first time in over a decade, with notable improvements in naturalization processing times.

H-1B Program Faces Reform: USCIS Proposes Changes to Lottery System and Eligibility Criteria

FY2024 saw an astounding number of H-1B cap lottery registrations - 780,884. Included in that total were over 400,000 registrations for beneficiaries with multiple registrations. USCIS has proposed a rule to fix these issues and modernize the program. The proposed changes include a beneficiary-centric solution for lottery registrations, alterations to specialty occupation eligibility criteria, elimination of the common law definition of employer/employee, and an extension of the cap-gap work authorization timeframe.

🎁 UNlock: Webinar invites & resources

[Free Webinar] Ask the Attorney: Poonam Gupta - Green Card Through Employer (Feb 17, 2024, 10:30 PM PST)

Your employer has finally decided to sponsor your green card. That's great! But do you know how the process works? Let Poonam Gupta, an immigration attorney with over two decades of experience guide you through this process. Understand PERM, decode Priority Dates, navigate layoffs, and explore Plan B alternatives. Know the ins and outs of the process so you have a smooth immigration ride, from start to finish.

[Free Webinar] The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Navigating the H-1B Visa in 2024 - (February 22nd, 10:00 am PST)

Join this crucial webinar with Richard M. Green, Partner & Chair of CDF's Immigration Practice Group, as they explore the essentials of the H-1B visa. Discover eligibility, recent changes, and strategies for accessing international talent. Gain insights into the recent USCIS overhaul and its impact on you / your company. This is great for HR professionals, talent managers, in-house counsel, business owners, and compliance officers.

[Extraordinary Visa Library] Awais Hussain - EB-1A Recipient - CTO & Co-Founder, Path

Welcome to the next edition of the Extraordinary Visa Library -- a joint initiative between Unshackled and Schmidt Futures! In this edition, we have Awais Hussain. Originally from the United Kingdom, Awais moved to the United States in 2011 to pursue his bachelor’s in physics and philosophy at Harvard University. Post graduation, unlike other international students, he went back to the UK. But then, several years later, he re-entered the US on an L-1B through his company Wave. After working at Wave for a few years, he decided to start his own company and got an O-1A approved through that in late 2022. Enjoy this podcast!

💫 UNcover: Latest trends

🪄 UNveil: This week’s partners

Mercury: It took me less than 15 minutes to set up a business bank account for my company with Mercury. If you're a founder or just need to set up a business bank account, this is your go-to solution. Once you deposit $10k, you'll earn $250 as a bonus!

Readwise: I've been using Readwise for ~4 years now. Hands down, it's the best app out there for syncing highlights (from Kindle, Pocket, Medium, Instapaper, etc) and helps you remember what you learned by resurfacing it with you at regular intervals. It's like a great teacher you never had. Click here to get a 6-month free trial.

👉 Want to put yourself in front of 11,000+ high-skilled immigrants? Just hit reply to start a conversation.

Are you an O1/EB1 aspirant? Claim your free course on talent visas.

I've launched a free, 5-day course on "Intro to Talent Visas in America." This is for you if you want to escape the H-1B lottery or the 100-year green card backlog and secure your future in America based on merit. Simply click here to start the course today. 🚀

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.

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