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Unshackled #20: Restrictive immigration bill, H-1B alternatives & free webinar

May 24, 2023

Before we begin, there are two things ending in a week:First is the Kindle giveaway, wherein you refer this newsletter to 5 friends and you get a Kindle copy of Unshackled. Simply share your unique link with 5 of your friends.Second is the ability to purchase a membership to the Unshackled community. After 7 days you won't be able to join the community for a few months.

Before we jump into the newsletter, I want to welcome 159 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

85% of students missing out on H-1B visas need emergency relief through OPT extension.As you know by now, over 750,000 registrations were submitted in the FY2024 H-1B lottery, for just 85,000 slots. Because of that, more than 85% of people did not get picked in the lottery, many of whom were highly skilled and educated students, who graduated from US universities. Niskanen Center, which is a prominent think-tank, is recommending that the Department of Homeland Security grant a one-time extension of OPT work authorization to graduates who had registered for the lottery. Were you one of the 85%? Hit reply, and let me know.​​8.3 Million Relatives of U.S. Citizens & Legal Residents Awaited Green Cards in 2022The last comprehensive immigration reform took place in the year 1992, more than three decades ago. Back then the US Congress put a cap on both family-based and employment-based green cards that are granted each year. Because of these outdated caps, the backlogs for family-based green cards have grown from 3.3 million in 1992 to more than twice that number right now. People face waiting times from 6 years to an absurd 200 years. It’s not just the employment-based path that’s broken (as you and I very well know) it’s also the family-based path.​​Conservative Republicans passed a bill to restrict immigration at the borders.This week, House Republicans have passed a bill that restricts immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border through one of the two chambers of Congress. This does not mean the bill has become law, as it still needs to pass the other chamber and be approved by the President. Although this is unlikely to happen, the legislation has sparked a renewed conversation about immigration reform in the Senate.

🎁 Resources curated for you

Free Webinar: Deep dive into E1 [May 25th, 2023 09:00 AM PST]The E1 is a great work visa BUT it does not apply to Indian or Chinese-born immigrants. In case you are from another country then check this webinar on the E1 Visa process, including a Q&A session addressing common queries, comparisons with the E2 visa, and eligibility requirements.​​Pathways to quicker residency: The rise of EB-5Have you heard about the EB-5 investor visa? It’s become popular in recent years for those who have the means and want to skip decades-long queues to get their American citizenship. The EB-5 has two subcategories: there is an EB-5 Regional Center option and there’s the EB-5 Direct Investment option. Check out this article to understand the differences, In case you have a million dollars ready to invest(!).​​Not Selected For An H-1B? Alternate Work Authorization OptionsIf you missed out on the H-1B or know someone who did, check out this article that summarizes all your options. Some of these options include the F-1 student visa, the L-1 intracompany transfer visa, the O-1 visa for individuals with extraordinary ability, and the TN visa for Canadians and Mexicans.💡 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?

After nine months of non-stop effort, our 1.5-pound book Baby is born!

Okay, so this is actually only a sample copy, but it felt surreal to hold it in my hands. My mom and dad also had a great time leafing through it (and mainly reading the Acknowledgments section ;)).I went through the book, sentence by sentence, for a few days last week to catch dozens of tiny errors that still somehow managed to creep in. Sigh. Regardless, it’s all done now and we begin mass production… today.In other news, the guest list for the Unshackled launch event (happening on July 22nd in Silicon Valley) has just gotten better: more than ten O-1 and EB-1 visa holders have already RSVPed to the event, including an edtech founder, senior product manager, software engineer, and physician. Next week, I’ll reveal the names of some special guests who’ll be present.If you live in California and will be here in July, you don’t wanna miss this. Hit reply to get a private link to purchase early tickets ($75). Tickets will go public next week, with an increased price of $100.​Hey, by the way, if you haven't yet, be the 894th 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: Getting closer to H-1B - said no one ever. Source: Anu Ramakrishnan


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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