Here is another edition “Dear Sophie”, an advice column answering immigration questions about working in tech companies.
“Your questions are vital to spreading the knowledge that enables people around the world to rise above boundaries and achieve their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you work in HR, are a founder, or are looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I am happy to answer your questions in my next column.”
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I am so worried and worried about all the layoffs! I’m safe now, but it made me realize that I need to take control of my destiny. Are there any visas or green cards that I can apply for on my own without relying on my employer?
— Silicone stress
I applaud you for taking the first step towards determining your immigration destiny and finding peace of mind.
Let me answer your green card question first, as recent events are impacting the timing of two green cards that people can apply for on their own: EB-1A Extraordinary Ability Green Cards and EB-2 NIW (National Waiver) interests). Individuals can apply for an EB-1A or EB-2 NIW without an employer sponsor or even a job offer.
Last week, the US State Department published Visa Bulletin for December 2022which shows which green card applications can move forward based on the number of green cards available in each category and the number available to individuals born in certain countries with high levels of US immigration, such as India and China.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) releases a monthly report that explains whether it will accept status adjustment applications — the last step in the green card process, along with an interview — based on State Department final action dates or filing dates. . USCIS December reportpublished last week, states that USCIS will accept I-485 status adjustments based on filing dates.
File for EB-1 NOW!
If you are eligible to apply for an EB-1A green card, you should apply as soon as possible—and apply for an I-140 green card and I-485 status adjustment at the same time. The reason for the urgency is that while the EB-1 green card category remains valid in December for all people regardless of where they were born, this is expected to change for those born in India or China.
Due to high demand for EB-1 green cards and a decrease in the number of green cards available this fiscal year compared to the previous one, the State Department predicts that it will set deadlines for individuals born in India and China. If this applies to you, talk to your immigration lawyer about how to move quickly.
Each fiscal year, 140,000 employment green cards are available, plus any unused green cards from family categories from the previous fiscal year. USCIS estimates that 197,000 green cards will be available this fiscal year (fiscal year 2023), compared to last fiscal year (fiscal year 2022) when there were 281,507 green cards. I have long advocated increasing the cap on the number of employment-based green cards available each year and removing the per-country cap on employment-based green cards, both of which require congressional action.