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Unshackled #12: Good news for B-1/B-2, guide on EB-1A, & layoff resources

March 29, 2023

I’m sorry for not sending the newsletter last week. I was quite sick and in the middle of heavily editing Unshackled! But, it’s all good now and I’m so glad to resume sending you the newsletter and helping you stay on top of everything related to immigration.Also, we welcome 84 new subscribers in the last two weeks. Now we've officially crossed 5000 subscribers in the newsletter! Given that I did barely any marketing besides on LinkedIn, this happened entirely thanks to you! ❤️

Immigration is a complex world. So every Wednesday, I try to simplify that by sharing top stories, curated resources, & fun tweets from the internet that matter to you. I also sprinkle it with updates on my upcoming book Unshackled, at the end. If you want to get this straight to your email inbox, come sign up! You can read all past editions here. 💃

This week's TL;DR

📌 Stories you should know about

Can You Look for a Job in the US on a Tourist or Business Visa? USCIS Says Yes!Exciting news for those on a B-1 or B-2 visas in the US! USCIS recently tweeted that if you’re on a tourist or business visa, you’re allowed to apply for a job and even sit for interviews on your current visa. This is great news because a lot of immigrants switched to a B-1/B-2 visa after getting laid off. Previously, it wasn’t clear whether they could apply for jobs — but now it is!​​Layoffs continue into 2023, with Salesforce crossing 8000Over 150,000 tech workers were laid off in all of 2022. Now, just three months into 2023, we’ve crossed that number already. The latest company in the list of announcements is Salesforce, which has laid off 10% of its workforce, or 8,000 employees. I know it can be incredibly scary to keep seeing news on layoffs everywhere. My recommendation is to really try to focus on what’s in your control, which is to find a new job. Here’s a LinkedIn post where I’ve shared some useful tips for immigrants in America.​​USCIS announces the end of COVID-related flexibilitiesWhen the pandemic started, USCIS relaxed some of its policies, especially around extending number of days you can take to respond to RFE and denial notices (they extended it from 90 to 150 days). These flexibilities were extended a few times, but it officially ended March 23rd, 2023. So if you file an application from now, you need to respond to RFEs, denial notices, and other requests by the time listed on the document.

🎁 Resources curated for you

EB-1A: Everything you need to know about it!If you didn’t know, the EB-1A is a first preference employment-based green card. It’s also colloquially known as the “einstein visa” (a term that I personally am not a fan of!). The reason it’s called that is because it has a high bar to meet in terms of the criteria; but the reward is equally high. You get your green card within a year, instead of needing to wait decades. Check out this article that breaks down this for you!Free Webinar: Options for Victims of Abuse [Mar 25th, 9:00-10:00 AM PST]When someone is a victim of abuse, their immigrant status should be the last thing on their mind to worry about. If you or someone you know is facing abuse, especially on a dependent visa right now, please check out this free webinar to learn about your options.​​List of Options by USCIS If You Got Laid OffUSCIS published a long list of options for those who got laid off a while ago. In case you haven’t seen this take a look. One piece of good news is that they recently updated information on when the 60-day grace period begins for someone on an H-1B. There was confusion around whether it’s the last day of employment or last day of paycheck. USCIS now says they’ll accept last day of paycheck, as long as it’s not severance paycheck.💡 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 email me and let me know so I can connect you with one.

📕 What's the latest on Unshackled?

The editing saga continues… and it’s making the book leaps and bounds better!If you had asked me about the importance of editing a book 4 weeks ago, I might’ve told you, “Eh, I think you can do it yourself or get some friends to do it.” I stand corrected so blatantly right now. Now I feel like giving a hug to that past self for being so naive.

soundarya in bangalore with unshackled

Editing is like building lines of defense for your book so when it finally reaches the reader, it’s (a) technically accurate, (b) narratively compelling, and (c) grammatically right. Thankfully, with Unshackled, we have at least five lines of defense right now:

  • Expert lawyers who gave feedback
  • Anaik Alcassas (a professional editor)
  • Ben Merrill (who worked as a research coordinator for the past four months)
  • Rishabh Singh (my close friend who’s also helping write the first and last chapter of the book)
  • Sameer
  • And me!

While this adds delay to the process — and requires me to a master at project management! — it’s gonna make the book so much better for you, the reader.Hey, by the way, if you haven't yet, be the 731st person to pre-order the book below. 👇

Get Unshackled

Thank you so much for reading till here.Got a burning question? Did you come across a resource that seemed useful? Want to say hi?Whatever it is, email me. 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

Who else can resonate? 👀 Source: Aditi Paul


Unshackled is the name of a book and its accompanying online community. On here, you’ll find articles on everything from building your profile for an O-1A visa to starting a company on your H-1B. Want to get such resources directly in your Inbox? Join 7000 immigrants who hear from us every Wednesday.

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