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Unshackled #18: US vs Canada, O-1 guide, free webinar for founders.

May 10, 2023

As I shared last week, the date for Unshackled’s launch event is set: July 22nd, 2023! We’re envisioning a 200-250 member event in San Francisco, CA filled with high-skilled immigrants, founders, VCs, lawyers, journalists, etc.Given the scale of the launch event, we’re looking for volunteers who’d like to be on the organizing side of things. Want to join? Just hit reply and let me know. Also, hit reply if you’d like to get an early ticket!Before we jump into the newsletter, I want to welcome 45 new subscribers to our newsletter since last week! 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

International student enrollment in the US rises 10.1% in 2022​The pandemic put a big dent in the dreams of international students who wanted to study in the U.S. (and universities who wanted them!). Now, the numbers seem to have picked up. In 2022, there were over 1.3 million students on F-1 and M-1 visas in the U.S., the highest since 2019. But the number of enrollments from China declined in 2022 compared to 2021, a sign that stricter immigration policies and visa delays have led to students considering alternatives, such as Canada, Singapore, and the U.K.Silicon Valley leader urges US lawmakers to remove green card cap​I’m sure you’re no stranger to the green card backlog. Today, almost 900,000 immigrants are standing in the backlog queue, waiting for the day they don’t have to let immigration dictate their travels and employment. As a member on the Presidential advisory committee, Ajay Bhutoria recently urged the U.S. lawmakers to remove the 7% cap which was unfairly affected folks from India and China. Several bills have also been introduced to remove the cap the past decade (the most recent of which was the EAGLE act), but none have seen the light of day so far.

🎁 Resources curated for you

Free Webinar: Immigration Law for Founders [May 17th, 2023 1:00 PM PST]​Starting a company is hard. Starting one as an immigrant on a visa is even harder. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, check out this free webinar organized by NYU Data Future lab, led by an attorney on best practices to follow!Navigating the O-1B Visa: A step-by-step guide​The O-1B visa is designed for individuals with extraordinary abilities in the arts and television industries and has become a coveted option for many skilled immigrants who didn’t get picked in the H-1B lottery. This guide covers an overview of the eligibility, application process, supporting documents, and fee involved!P.S. If you haven't yet, read the 11,000-word free guide on the O-1 published from Unshackled.The United States vs. Canada: Weighing your immigration options​Relocating to a new country is a significant decision, and the U.S. and Canada are two popular options for those considering a move. The U.S. offers abundant employment opportunities, and higher salaries, but struggles with gun violence and challenging immigration. In contrast, Canada provides universal healthcare and a more accessible immigration system. How do you choose? Check out the pros and cons in the article!💡 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?

Thanks to the over 30 proofreaders who signed up and helped out with Unshackled last week, we’re done designing the 368-page book! I’ve officially sent it for a test print today.Whew. Honestly, I’m quite sleep deprived as I type these words. I’ve been on a design marathon on Figma for the past 7 days. But, despite the exhaustion, I loved every moment of it — it felt like assembling the final pieces of a very complex puzzle I’d been working on for 10 months.Also, I’m thrilled to announce the first sponsor for the launch event: Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP! I met with Seth Leech, one of the Partners at the law firm, almost 5+ months ago for an interview for Unshackled. Seth is one of few lawyers in the U.S. who has gotten successful approvals for something called an “IEP” (substitute for a startup visa). He’s been insanely supportive of the book — and now our launch event.If you or someone you know is interested to be a sponsor, let me know! We’re gonna have a blast sharing tiny tidbits of the event over the next 2 months.💃​Hey, by the way, if you haven't yet, be the 871st 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: US immigration: turning dreams into retirement plans. Source: Seth Finberg


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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