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Unshackled #13: H-1B reform, good news for GC applicants, & free webinars!

April 5, 2023

I’ve decided to give away the O-1 chapter from my book, Unshackled, for free for all. You don’t need to do anything to get it. Just watch out for an email from me this Friday. I wanted to do this partly to help those who didn’t get picked in the H-1B lottery this year and have just a year to leave the country. If you’re one of them, I’m sorry. It sucks.Before we jump into the newsletter, I want to welcome 209 new subscribers to our newsletter since last week. Welcome, folks! And thanks to you if you forwarded this to a dear friend. 🙏

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

Welcome to the virtual world of USCIS for humanitarian immigration!USCIS has opened a new virtual service center dedicated to processing requests for humanitarian immigration relief. This includes visas like U-visa, VAWA, and T-visa, meant for survivors of domestic abuse. USCIS is doing this to reduce the lengthy backlogs currently present for these. This is a great step in the right direction — and hopefully, they’ll think of extending this for other visas soon. We’ll keep you posted!New bill introduced in the Senate to reform H-1B and L-1 visasA new bill was introduced in Congress recently by Senators Durbin and Grassley to reform the H-1B and L-1 visa program. The bill plans to (a) prioritize STEM workers for H-1Bs, (b) reduce abuse of the H-1B by outsourcing firms that clog up the lottery, (c) increase the requirement for setting up a “new office” L-1 (which will affect founders on L-1s), (d) increasing penalties for violations and more. However, most bills that get introduced don’t become laws (<4% do!). So this is simply the first step in the process. We’ll keep you updated if this moves ahead!No more 60-Day Rule for Medical Exam Form in Green CardPreviously, if you were file for lawful permanent residence, you had only 60-days to submit something called a Form I-693, signed by a civil surgeon doctor. But now, USCIS has removed that requirement. Now, you can submit your medical exam result form up to two years after the civil surgeon signed it! This gives you much more time to choose a qualified civil surgeon and to ensure you don’t have to worry if there’s been a mistake in the form.

🎁 Resources curated for you

[Free Webinar] Starting A Business on L-1: April 5, 08 AM PSTThinking of starting a business in the U.S.? Join this “New Office” L-1 Visa webinar by an expert attorney who’ll be sharing tips and tricks for you. You'll also get to know how to apply for the L-1, avoid RFEs and denials, and get through consular interviews. Check it out![Free Webinar] Starting A Business on A Visa: April 11th, 11 AM PSTIf you’re wanting to start a business on a visa, this is the webinar for you! This is being organized by Ocho, which is a fintech platform co-founded by the co-founder of Teachable, Ankur Nagpal. The seats are limited, so be sure to get a spot quickly.Major changes in the April 2023 Visa Bulletin.The April visa bulletin is here! This article gives you a full breakdown of the current priority dates across employment and family-based immigration. Here’s some bad news: the EB-2 priority date for Indian nationals has retrogressed by 9 months, prolonging the wait further. But, on the bright side, there’s been no change for the EB-1 category. In case you’re looking to apply for the EB-1 and need access to a lawyer / resources, just hit reply and let me know.💡 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?

After several months of research, editing, re-writing, tearing it apart, and writing it all over again: the first chapter in Unshackled is complete.I co-wrote the first chapter with my close friend, Rishabh Singh. He’s the founder of an immigration-tech startup, and one of the most well-read people when it comes to immigration & politics! In the chapter, we take you back ten years to what happened in 2013 when the U.S. Congress last tried to pass immigration reform. Reading this story will help you understand a lot about how American politics works as a whole.Aside from that, I’ve been heads-down editing the last few chapters in the book. I aim to finish all major edits by this weekend, after which the book will be sent for copy-editing — and I can finally take some breather! 💃To those of you who signed up to be a proof-reader, expect an email in a few weeks with the chapters.​Hey, by the way, if you haven't yet, be the 842nd 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

It’s been a hard week for immigrants! Source: Phil Kuck​.


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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