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Unshackled #48: In-person meetup, H1B renewal, & free webinars!

November 29, 2023

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Happy Wednesday. ✨

Soundarya here, from Unshackled. :)

I'm hosting the first meetup for the Unshackled community in the Bay Area next week (Dec 12th). It's free for all and meant to bring O1/EB1/NIW aspirants together. If you live in the Bay Area or can travel here, come join us. Spots are limited to 50. We already have 25 registered members. Grab one of the 25 spots left.

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Grab 25 spots left for free event

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Before we jump in, I want to thank our sponsors Shopify and Napkinsights who made this newsletter free for all. And, I'm delighted to welcome 122 new subscribers to our newsletter since last week. We're 9562 members strong now! πŸ™

You're receiving this email as part of the Unshackled weekly newsletter. Immigration is a complex world. So every Wednesday, I try to simplify that by sharing top stories and relevant resources that matter to you. I also sprinkle it with updates on what's happening with the Unshackled online community. 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. πŸ’ƒ

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This week's TL;DR

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πŸ“Œ UNfold: Top stories

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​State Department's H-1B Visa Renewal Pilot Excludes Dependents, Sparking Concerns​

If you haven't heard already, the U.S. State Department is launching a pilot program, starting in January, that will allow 20,000 H-1B visa holders to renew their visas domestically. This means you don't need to take expensive trips abroad & be stuck there until you get your visa renewed. But, this program will exclude those on H-4 visas (dependents of H-1B visa holders). Businesses and legal communities have expressed disappointment, emphasizing the significant contributions of H-4 visa holders, many of whom work in STEM fields. The State Department cites technical and operational challenges for not including dependents but plans to consider their inclusion in future expansions.

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​New Bill in U.S. House Aims to Cut Green Card Backlog, Indian-Americans to Benefit​

Another day, another bill. U.S. Congressmen, including Indian-Americans Raja Krishnamoorthi and Pramila Jayapal, introduced a bipartisan bill, HR 6542, to reduce green card backlogs and end country-based discrimination in employment-based visas. The bill aims to phase out the 7% per-country limit on employment-based immigrant visas and increase the family-sponsored visa limit to 15%. This legislation, if passed, will benefit thousands of Indian-Americans in long green card queues. It also proposes changes to strengthen the H-1B visa program and allows those waiting for over two years to file for a green card.

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​NVC Reports Major Delays in Immigrant Visa Interviews, Hundreds of Thousands Affected​

As of October 31, the U.S. National Visa Center (NVC) reported a backlog of 350,000+ immigrant visa (IV) applicants ready for interviews. In November 2023, ~41,00 applicants were scheduled for interviews. However, 311,550 eligible IV applicants are still pending interview scheduling after November's appointments were completed. This number is significantly higher compared to the average monthly pending interviews in 2019, which was ~61,000.

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🎁 UNlock: Relevant resources

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​[Free Event] San Francisco Community Meetup of O1/EB1 Aspirants [12th Dec 2023, 06:00 PM PST]​

I'm so excited to host the first in-person meetup for the Unshackled community in San Francisco! We're joining forces with ImmigrantFirst.ai to host an end-of-the-year party for high-skilled immigrants in the Bay Area, with a focus on those aspiring toward an extraordinary visa (O1/EB1/NIW). We're curating the event so you get the most out of it. Please apply to secure a spot, and come in with the goal of connecting with other extraordinary immigrants! Light refreshments will be provided.

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​[Extraordinary Visa Library] From F-1 to EB-1A: Shantanu Joshi's Inspiring Visa Journey in Electronics Manufacturing​

It's here! After months of background effort, we're launching the first case study from the Extraordinary Visa Library, featuring Shantanu Joshi. Shantanu's journey to an EB-1A visa began with an F-1 visa when he entered the U.S. in 2011. After accumulating over a decade of expertise in Solder Materials Technology, his EB-1A aplication was approved in December 2022. Watch the podcast to understand his story, profile-building process, as well as the emotional highs & lows.

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​[Free Webinar] F-1 Visas Demystified: CPT, OPT, STEM OPT [06th Dec 2023, 12:00 PM PST]​

Focusing on key aspects such as work hours, unemployment rules, and common challenges faced by international students. Special attention will be given to startup founders on STEM OPT extensions, offering expert advice, essential do's and don'ts, and strategies for utilizing advisors effectively. This webinar is an essential resource for student immigrants looking to navigate their F-1 visa journey successfully and leverage opportunities for entrepreneurial success while adhering to visa regulations.

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πŸͺ„ UNveil: This week’s sponsor

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πŸ‘‰ Want to put yourself in front of 9500+ high-skilled immigrants? Just hit reply to start a conversation. We've opened sponsorship slots for 2024!

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πŸ₯³ UNshackled: What's happening in the community?

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I’ll be honest: I was very hesitant to start this community initially because I felt like I didn’t have the credentials to help people since I didn’t have an extraordinary visa myself.

Thanks to the push from a few people, I went ahead anyway because I had spent a year researching this topic and knew a lot about the subject matter. If not me, I knew I could bring the right people together β€” lawyers, past recipients, experts β€” who can help.

But, now getting the O-1A as a solo founder & 100% equity owner makes me feel even more confident in what we can do when we help each other as a community. :)

Anyways, here's what's been brewin' in our community the past week:

  • ​Free in-person event in the Bay Area: Do you live in the Bay Area? Want to meet 50 awesome immigrants all working toward the same goal? And want to say hi to me in person? This is your chance! Apply to join an upcoming Unshackled event.
  • ​First case study launched from library! Imagine if there was a library filled with case studies of past O-1/EB-1 recipients, sharing exactly how they got to the finish line. We're launching the first one from the vault tomorrow within the community.
  • ​New mentor added to our directory: Say hello to Vinay Prabhu, an EB-1A recipient and founder of HAL51.ai. He's the latest mentor to join our directory and offer a free call to members of the community!
  • ​How to become an IEEE senior member? was one of the top questions on our discussion forum last week!
  • [Coming soon] O-1A self-assessment tool: I’m collaborating with the Schmidt Futures organization to build a tool that will give you a personalized roadmap for your O-1 journey. This will be free for all.

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Whenever you're ready to join the community, use this private link that lets you join for $539 ($60 off). Once you join, get access to top lawyers, O-1/EB-1 mentors, weekly events, & a roadmap to reach your goal.

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Join 320+ ambitious immigrants at $60 off

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Until next week, stay wonderful.

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Yours truly,

Soundarya πŸ’š

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