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Unshackled #15: Layoff resources, 60-day clock, & job search on B-1/B-2

April 19, 2023

Just in the last 3.5 months, 170,000+ tech workers have been laid off. It’s insane. In case you got affected, or know a friend who did, here’s a LinkedIn post where I’ve shared a compilation of resources that could help. Further, I’ve published the O-1 chapter from my book, Unshackled, for free last week.

Read O-1 chapter from Unshackled

Before we jump into the newsletter, I want to welcome 399 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

USCIS clarifies 60-day grace begins after last day of paycheckThere was a lot of confusion around when the 60-day grace period begins for immigrants who got laid off. Fortunately, USCIS has recently clarified that the clock begins the day after your last paycheck. This is good news! If you can convince your employer to keep you on “unproductive employee status” for a few more months, then you get extra time to figure something out. However, note that this doesn’t apply for severance paychecks.USCIS clarifies job search policy for B-1/B-2 visa holdersA couple of weeks ago, USCIS published a tweet sharing that immigrants can apply for jobs and sit for interviews on a B-1/B-2 visa. This was a welcome surprise — and cause for some confusion. Some thought this meant you could work on a B-1/B-2. Nope! USCIS has clarified this now by saying, “Before beginning any new employment, a petition and request for a change of status from B-1 or B-2 to an employment-authorized status must be approved, and the new status must take effect.”Indian students suffer as H-1B visa lottery sees record low selection ratesUSCIS has not yet launched the data around the number of H-1B applications this year, yet. However, experts anticipate this number to be in the 600,000 range, making it the worst year of the lottery so far, with less than 15% selection rates. This has greatly affected students who rely on the H-1B to continue living and working in the U.S. If you too were affected, it’s time to begin looking at alternatives, as shared in this LinkedIn post.Support the first documentary capturing struggles of high-skilled immigrantsMy friend, Vidyut Latay, has created the first-ever documentary capturing the struggles of high-skilled immigrants like you. She’s invested 5 years of her life into this and is almost at the finish line. She’s set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise $50,000 to cover the final stages of post-production. Support her if you can — this is for all of us! 🙏

🎁 Resources curated for you

Top 10 tips: Master the H-1B filing processMaximize your chances of H-1B petition success with these top 10 tips, covering registration selection notice, proper forms, filing fees, correct locations, signatures, start dates, LCA job details, and education qualifications. Don't forget to file dependent petitions alongside the I-129 petition. Make the most of your lottery win!Need to apply for citizenship or naturalization? Check out TrueVisa!If you need to apply for citizenship or naturalization, check out TrueVisa. They’re a fully digital platform for you to file your application, along with an attorney review. I recently spoke to one of the co-founders and was impressed to hear how they’ve brought down the cost of filing from a few thousand to a few hundred by digitizing it. (Bonus: Use the referral code “unshackled20” to get a 20% discount. I don’t make any money off of this).May 2023 Visa Bulletin: Updates on availability and retrogression warningsThe May 2023 Visa bulletin is here! Here are some quick highlights: there is no change in the cut-off date for the EB-1 for India and China since April. It’s currently February 1st, 2022 and June 1st, 2022, respectively. All other countries remain at current. However, USCIS warns that the date could likely retrogress further for folks from India and China. Meanwhile, the EB-2 cut-off dates have retrogressed by a few months for all countries, except India and China. Check out the bulletin to learn more!💡 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?

I’ve got two exciting updates since last week.First, I’ve begun work on the Unshackled community starting this week. Now that the work on the book is mostly out of the way, I have the space to envision what I want for the community. What is the purpose of it? How will we help the members? What should the pricing look like? These are all questions I’ve begun thinking about. I’m also planning to recruit a full-time community manager next week. Hit reply and let me know if you/someone you know is interested.Second, Brad Feld will be writing the Foreword for Unshackled. Brad is the co-founder of Techstars, a Managing Partner at Foundry Group, and a passionate champion for immigration reform since 2010. More than anything, Brad was one of the earliest supporters of my project (he invested $1000 into my crowdfunding campaign) — even when I had literally nothing to show. To have him read the manuscript and say, “I loved it.” is a big deal. I can’t wait for you to read the Foreword soon.​Hey, by the way, if you haven't yet, be the 855th 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

Caption: The grass isn’t fully green after all…​


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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