Table of Contents

Unshackled #6: First immigrant (and woman) elected to Congress leadership

February 10, 2023

I’ve been getting many questions from recently graduated international students about their “90-day clock.” So I wrote a short post on LinkedIn sharing four ideas for you. If you don’t know what “self-employment OPT” means, this is the time to look into it!Also, we welcome 167 new curious immigrants to the newsletter since last week! Insanely grateful to those who joined, & those who shared this newsletter with a friend. Thank 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

🎉 Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal joins the U.S. Immigration SubcommitteeBig news: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is now the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration. I know that’s a mouthful, but here’s why it matters to you: Congresswoman Jaypal is the first immigrant to serve in a leadership role for this subcommittee and a passionate supporter of high-skilled immigrants like you. She’s supported a ton of pro-immigration laws and started OneAmerica, the largest immigrant rights organization in Washington State. The hope is, with her addition, we can see some real change within Congress that addresses issues under immigration.H-1B denial rates down to 2%: NFAP policy brief 2022H-1B denial rates shot through the roof during the Trump administration, reaching as high as 24% in FY 2018 (and RFE rates reached 66% in November 2018). Now, the latest NFAP policy brief shows that the denial rates are back to the levels they were in pre-2017, at 2%. While you still need to get picked in the lottery, at least you don’t have to continue fearing denials anymore.The labor market adds 517,000 new jobs in January 2023A stunning 517,000 jobs were added last month, and the unemployment rate slumped to 3.4%, the lowest since 1969. This is good news because it shows that despite the mass layoffs, a ton of other industries — hospitality, leisure, healthcare — are growing and have job vacancies.

🎁 Resources curated for you

H-1B Recruitment Connect: Connecting employers with tech talent who have been laid offAs the layoffs continue to happen, people continue to step up and help the immigrant community. H-1B Recruitment Connect was launched recently to connect employers with tech talent on H-1B visas who have lost their jobs. The site has already got some 12,000 visits just last month. If you know someone who could benefit, please pass it along!Learn from Lawyer Series: EB-1A (Feb 11, 2023)Wonder what it takes to get through your EB-1A? Check out this “Learn from the Lawyer” series featuring Brian Lisonbee, a senior immigration attorney and founder of Lisonbee Immigration Law. If you’re one of the three lucky registrants, you’ll also get a free profile evaluation from him!Options to start a business as an immigrant entrepreneurStarting your own business in the US can seem tough, but don't let that intimidate you. There are several visa options out there, even if not ideal, that you can use to build your venture. The University of Pittsburgh recently hosted a webinar to help break down some of the visa options available for foreign entrepreneurs.💡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?

The 60-day marathon begins.The tough deadline I’ve kept for myself to give the entire manuscript to the printer is April 8th, 2023, exactly two months from now.Last weekend, my best friend and I spent a few hours creating a “Manuscript Release Plan.” Essentially, it answers the question: what is everything we need to do to ensure that Unshackled is air-tight regarding facts, insights shared, and literary quality? So we came up with 6 levels of defense, which include:

  • Getting feedback from lawyers on all the chapters
  • Hiring two editors to ensure the passages flow well
  • Getting proofreaders from the newsletter who can check for minor errors. By the way, if you’d like to be one, email me at and let me know!
  • Going through several rounds of rigorous fact-checking
  • And, of course, converting the entire google doc manuscript into Figma pages (cause Unshackled will be a beautiful, visual book!).

When you’re hiking a 20-mile mountain, and you finally start to see the zenith, you start running faster. Because you finally see what it is you’re running towards. I’m feeling that now.As I finally look at all the chapters, stories, insights, illustrations, and other design assets holistically, I’m excited (and proud) to see how Unshackled has shaped up in seven months.Hey, by the way, if you haven't yet, be the 778th 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, email me. I read and respond to every email.And, if you enjoyed reading this newsletter, just sign-up to get this in your inbox every Wednesday. And, you could forward it to afriend too. It helps more than you know.Until next week, stay cozy.Yours truly,Soundarya 💚

👀 Fun corners of the internet

Even the Prince can’t avoid the lottery.

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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