Table of Contents

Unshackled #4: Bookmark this 2023 immigration checklist

January 26, 2023

After almost 8 weeks of mockups, Figma mood-boarding, & iterations, I present to you the new website for Unshackled. I want this to eventually become your go-to hub for content and community. For now, take a quick tour and let me know what you think of the design.Also, we welcome almost 400 new curious immigrants to the newsletter since last week! Insanely grateful to those who joined, & those who shared about this newsletter with a 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. I also sprinkle it with updates on my 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

Historic settlement brings relief for H-4 & L-2 visa holders: Starting January 25th, 2023​To everyone who is on an H-4 & L-2 visa: here’s some great news! Starting January 25th, 2023, USCIS will bundle all I-539s, I-765s, and I-129 forms when they’re filed together – meaning you can get your EAD within 15 days if you file it along with your spouses’ H-1B petition. No more waiting for months and losing salary (and sleep) over processing times. If you know anyone in the H-4 or L-2 visa categories, make sure to spread the good news!​Recent data shows how important you are to the U.S. economy​There’s a lot of rhetoric around immigrants “stealing jobs.” But not enough around the contributions they make to the country. To offset this, the American Immigration Council recently published a study. Here’s the gist: there are ~44 million immigrants in America. Together, we pay around $467 billion in taxes and boast a spending power of over $1.3 trillion. Not to mention that of the 44 million, ~3 million are immigrant entrepreneurs who actively create jobs for the economy.​Opinion: The big tech layoffs expose America’s failure to protect immigrant workers​Over 50,000 people got laid off just in January 2023, mostly by 4 major tech firms: Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Salesforce. When such layoffs happen, immigrant workers often face a double-edged sword: they’ve lost their job, and with it, their security to stay in the country. This harsh reality is finally hitting home with recent job losses from big tech companies, highlighting how outdated visa policies could be holding our economy back.

🎁 Resources curated for you

Annual immigration “wellness-check” for 2023​I know you live a busy life. But as immigrants, it’s critical that we stay on top of certain things to ensure our legal status is secure. Take 2 minutes to review the list of items put together by an immigration lawyer in there to have the peace of mind that you haven’t forgotten anything important.​Free webinar on O-1 visa for startup founders: Jan 26th, 10AM PST​Looking to launch your startup venture? Here’s a free webinar that takes you through what it takes to kickstart a business on your O-1 visa.​A compilation of resources if you were affected by the layoffs​I published a post on LinkedIn yesterday compiling a bunch of my previous posts where I shared useful resources for those who got laid off. Take a look, and share it with someone for whom it’s relevant.💡 Btw, did you come across a resource that seemed useful? Hit reply & share it with me! I'll share it in the next newsletter with full credits. :)

📕 What's the latest on Unshackled?

It’s been exactly a week since I landed in Chennai, India. I’ll be honest: the first two days were difficult. I was really impatient about not having a proper routine. I wanted to dive right in and start working on the book & community, but the reality was: I didn’t have a table, chair, or monitor. So I spent the first two days building an optimal setup for myself so I could spend the next few months working efficiently. Fortunately, a week in, a very good rhythm has set in place.I’m mostly focused on research and writing for now — currently working on the H-1B chapter, followed by the EB-2 NIW next. It’s been enlightening to read some of the papers & articles published on these topics.In the background though, I’m also planning for the community, the launch party (!), and thinking of ways to market the book. (Note to any aspiring writers who read this: learn the basics of marketing. It’ll help you go a long way.)Finally, I met with my content marketing team in Chennai (who designed the website) and spent a good 4 hours brainstorming with them, and getting to know them. The wonders of being in the same city as the folks you work with. ✨

Hey, by the way, if you haven't yet, be the 758th person to pre-order the book below. 👇Get UnshackledThank 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, hit reply and tell me more. 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 cozy.Yours truly,Soundarya 💚

👀 Fun corners of the internet

Oh, the irony.


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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