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Unshackled #19: Launching referral program, webinar on O-1, & June bulletin.

May 21, 2023

Okay, I’ve got two exciting updates:

  • First, Unshackled is now live on Amazon Kindle for pre-orders (!).
  • Second, you get to participate in the very first referral program for this newsletter!

For the next two weeks, I’m giving away a Kindle copy of Unshackled to anyone who refers 5 friends to sign up for this newsletter. Simply share your unique link with 5 of your friends. Once they sign up, you’ll get to cozy up and read the book when it’s out!

If you already purchased a Kindle copy, no sweat. You can still participate! We’ll gift your copy to a friend of yours (or a secret crush?). 💃

Before we jump into the newsletter, I want to welcome 40 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

U.S. Citizenship Act of 2023: A Humane Approach to Immigration Reform

It’s that time in history again when another comprehensive immigration reform act is introduced into Congress! Like the previous acts, this too focuses on three pillars: (a) making the border more secure, (b) provide path to citizenship for the undocumented, and (the one that concerns you!) (c) updating laws to retain more skilled immigrants. Specifically, it removes country-caps on green cards and annual caps on visas for folks in STEM. Congress has failed time and again in implementing comprehensive reform… but I hope this proves to be different.

June 2023 visa bulletin is here! And... nothing has changed.

Okay, the June visa bulletin is here! And… there’s no change really. The cut-off dates for India remain the same for EB-1 (Feb 1, 2022), EB-2 (Jan 1, 2011), and EB-3 (June 15, 2012) categories, as it did the last month. The same is true for China. The good news is: EB-1 is current for all the other countries! While there’s not much change this month, experts say that the date for EB-3 is likely to retrogress for India next month. We’ll have to wait and see.

70% of U.S. Labor Force Were Immigrants or Children of Immigrants

Economists have been shouting for decades about the positive impact of immigration on America, and the rest of the world. Here’s the latest stat that portrays it. The U.S. labor force increased by about 33 million between 1995 and 2022. Of the 33 million, about half were immigrants, and one-fourth were children of immigrants. That’s pretty insane. It means about 70% of all the growth in America came from immigrants or their children in the past few decades.

🎁 Resources curated for you

3 Tips for International Students to Navigate Layoffs

Did you just graduate on an F-1 visa? Congrats! In case you haven’t found a job yet, I share three tips for you in this post: volunteering on your OPT, applying for self-employment OPT, and being aware of scam actors. Check it out, and share it with anyone who needs to see it!

Free Webinar: Visa Victories: From F1 to O1 [May 20th, 2023 09:00 AM PST]

Join Rudra Roy Choudhury who got his O-1 visa as a Product Manager just a few years after graduating from Cornell University. Learn the best practices to begin building your profile from Day 1!

Understanding the Path to US Employment: Green Cards and Work Visas

Okay, here’s another good article you should read if you’re an international student. It can be confusing to learn about the alphabet soup of visas in the US for the first time. This article breaks it down into temporary “work visas” versus permanent “green cards.”

💡 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?

With the book sent for print and out of the way, I’ve been heads down and focused on building the community and organizing the launch party happening on July 22nd in the Bay Area!

Community: The Unshackled community is officially launching this week! For now, we’re only onboarding a small set of “Founding Members” who will test the space and give us feedback. We aim to onboard all 200+ members by the end of this month!

Reminder: We’re closing memberships for the community in a week. After this, memberships won't open for a few months and will be invite-only. If you’re actively pursuing an O-1/EB-1 route, come join us now and take advantage of the resources!

Launch Party: It’s official! We got our second sponsor for the launch — Syndesus. I spoke to Marc, the founder of Syndesus, a few weeks ago. Within the first 30-min, I was pleasantly surprised at how much he cared about the issue of immigration, and helping immigrants. What’s more, he’s set up a brilliant path to help folks who didn’t get picked in the H-1B but want to stay in the same job.

Here’s how it works: You didn’t get picked in the H-1B lottery → You ask your employer to apply to Syndesus → Syndesus helps you get a Canadian work visa → You move to Canada → You begin working under Syndesus as contractor for your company (same job, same salary) → You get your PR in ~2 years.

Check them out, or hit reply if you’d like to be connected to them!

In next week’s newsletter, I’ll show you a sneak peak of what the printed book looks like. 😄

​Hey, by the way, if you haven't yet, be the 887st 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: EB2 retrogression? More like, e-be-too-long! I'm out. Source: Aditi Paul


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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